By Nan Gallagher, Esq.
It is never redundant to warn physicians about the rampant DEA Scam that has been going on for the last three years. Physicians’ offices throughout the state have been receiving calls from individuals claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Administration claiming that there is some problem or fraud with the physicians’ prescribing practices, lost prescription blanks, or drug diversion. These pranksters have a rather ill-planned scheme to try to extort money from physicians and will provide their names, a return phone number, and, in some instances, paperwork on what appears to be DEA and State Board of Medical Examiners letterheads citing infractions and listing the physicians’ license and DEA registration numbers. Our firm has been intervening in these scams each time they are reported to us, which usually ends with the schemers using profanity to us on the phone and hanging up. This is a large operation with many participants and varying names and return phone calls. One physician even reported that he was directed to go to a local UPS store to receive a secure fax from the DEA so that he would not be “embarrassed at the office”. Monies sought from these bad actors range from nominal amounts to tens of thousands.
We have reported the scheme years ago to the State Board of Medical Examiners, which now lists this SCAM ALERT as the first one on its website. https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/bme#. Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be from the DEA seeking money or threatening administrative consequences should not indulge these criminals. Instances of this DEA Scam may be reported to our office at Info@DocAdvocates.com or at ReportFraud.ftc.gov or AskConsumerAffairs@lps.state.nj.us.
If a physician’s office receives a call from anyone claiming to be from the DEA and advising that there is an issue with prescribing or prescriptions or asking for money or information, this is a classic sign of fraud. The DEA does not call first – they show up at your office. Don’t Be Scared – Be Prepared.