DEA Warns of Increasing Scam Calls

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning dentists and dental office staff to be cautious of telephone calls from criminals posing as DEA or other law enforcement personnel, even going as far as to provide fake badge numbers. The callers are demanding that dentists and other DEA registrants pay a “fine” for supposed violations of federal drug laws or involvement in drug-trafficking activities. 
The tactics employed by scammers changes continuously, but these scam calls often share many of the following characteristics:
  • Using fake names and badge numbers or names of senior DEA officials, or posing as employees of local utility companies.
  • Urgent and aggressive tone, demanding to speak directly with the person they are calling and refusing to leave a message.
  • Threatening arrest, prosecution and imprisonment, and in the case of dentists and other medical practitioners, revocation of their DEA numbers.
  • Demanding thousands of dollars via wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or untraceable gift cards.
  • Calling from a blocked number or falsifying the number on caller ID to appear as though the call is coming from a legitimate phone number.
  • When calling a dentist, referencing their National Provider Identifier numbers and/or state license numbers. Callers may also claim that patients are making accusations against the dentist.
Dentists and dental office staff should be aware that a DEA employee would not contact a registrant by telephone and demand money or threaten to suspend a registrant’s DEA registration. Notification of a legitimate investigation or legal action is made via official letter or in person.
If you or your office are contacted by a person purporting to work for the DEA and seeking money or threatening to suspend your DEA registration, the DEA recommends that you refuse the demand. Report the threat by calling 1-877-792-2873 or through the “Extortion Scam Online Reporting” posted on the DEA Diversion Control Division’s website:
The DEA asks that you include all fields, including, most importantly, a call back number so that a DEA investigator can contact you if they need additional information. Reporting will greatly assist the DEA in investigating and stopping this criminal activity.
Any urgent concerns or questions, including inquiring about legitimate investigations, should be directed to the local DEA field office, which you can find here.