Protecting your dental practice: How to spot a DEA scam

| Jul 26, 2019 | Business Law

Dental practitioners in the Central Valley, South Lake Tahoe, and San Francisco Bay area report receiving calls from individuals claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Administration this summer. Callers attempted to extort dentists by threatening legal action or saying a dentist’s DEA license was being used to traffic drugs. In many cases, the callers provided fake badge numbers and used phone numbers mimicking legitimate DEA numbers.

However, the DEA has confirmed these calls are a scam.

Spotting a fraudulent call from the DEA

Like any other scam, those impersonating DEA agents prey on fear. Dentists and their staff can also watch for these red flags:

  • The caller is aggressive and demands immediate action
  • They demand funds via wire transfer or untraceable gift cards
  • They threaten arrest or revocation of a practitioner’s DEA license

The DEA has urged practitioners to keep in mind that any important information from their agency will never come over the phone: “DEA personnel will never contact practitioners or members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. DEA will not request any personal or sensitive information over the phone. Notification of a legitimate investigation or legal action is made via official letter or in person.”

If something about a call to your office seems off, encourage staff to research and verify the credentials of the caller before providing any information about your practice.

Reporting a suspicious call

Calls that seem out of line should be reported through the DEA’s Diversion Control Division. DEA registrants can also contact the DEA’s Registration Helpline at (800) 882-9539.