Warning: Scammers Impersonating DEA Agents Are Calling Doctors for Sensitive Information
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning the public of a widespread fraud scheme in which telephone scammers impersonate DEA agents in an attempt to steal personal identifiable or sensitive information from doctors or other health care providers. These calls have been made to Kansas providers. The reported scam tactics continually change but often share many of the same characteristics. Callers use fake names and badge numbers, names of well-known DEA officials or police officers in local departments, and may even provide “local DEA” information. Additionally, they may:
- use an urgent and aggressive tone, refusing to speak to or leave a message with anyone other than their targeted victim;
- threaten arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and, in the case of doctors and pharmacists, revocation of their DEA registration;
- demand thousands of dollars via wire transfer or in the form of untraceable gift card numbers the victim is told to provide over the phone;
- ask for personal information, such as social security number or date of birth;
- reference National Provider Identifier numbers and/or state license numbers when calling a doctor. They may also claim that patients are making accusations against that doctor.
It is important to note that DEA personnel will never contact doctors by telephone to demand money, will never request personal or sensitive information over the phone, and will only notify doctors of a legitimate investigation or legal action in person or by official letter. Thus, doctors should never provide personal or sensitive information pursuant to requests over the phone. In fact, it is sound advice to never provide personal or professional data over the telephone regardless of the alleged source of the request.
The best deterrence against these bad actors is awareness and caution. Any doctor receiving a call from a person claiming to be with DEA should immediately report the incident to the FBI at www.ic3.gov. The Federal Trade Commission provides recovery steps, shares information with more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies and takes reports at reportfraud.ftc.gov.
Reporting these scam calls will help federal authorities find, arrest, and stop the criminals engaged in this fraud. Finally, after reporting the incident, you should block the number of the individual who called you claiming to be a DEA agent.