EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – For almost a year, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been warning the public about phone calls from scammers posing as DEA employees trying to defraud victims. Scammers are now using new tactics.
The DEA said because it started a national campaign to inform the public regarding these scam calls, many of scammers have turned their attention to a new potential target. Medical doctors have become targets.
“Here in the El Paso Division, we have received some calls from doctors and doctor offices questioning if these calls are legitimate. And we are here to tell you they are not,” said Carlos Briano, the Public Information Officer for the DEA El Paso division.
The DEA said these scammers call a doctor or a doctor’s office, sometimes falsifying the number on the caller ID to appear as a legitimate DEA phone number. They may name fictitious agent names or badge numbers in order to appear legitimate. They allege that the clinic or the doctor is the subject of a DEA investigation, that puts in jeopardy their DEA registration. They may even threaten arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment for supposed violations of federal drug laws or involvement in drug diversion activities unless they pay a “fine” over the phone, via wire transfer, or through a gift card.
“It is critical to note that DEA personnel will never contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. They do not request any personal or sensitive information over the phone. DEA personnel typically notifies people of a legitimate investigation or legal action via official letter or in-person,” said Briano.
Briano said the best deterrence is awareness and caution. Do not give out your personal information. Do not wire transfer money or send gift cards.
And anyone with urgent concerns can always call their local DEA field division. The contact information can be found at dea.gov. If you want to report receiving one of these calls to the FBI, you can visit www.ic3.gov.