The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a new warning about an extortion scam targeting physicians in New Jersey.
The physicians who have been targeted received a fraudulent questionnaire by mail. The questionnaire asked for confidential information, including the physician’s DEA numbers, social security number, and credit card data.
The mailing was sent to physicians on what appears to be New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs letterhead, which seeks to “update” physician “profiles in our system.”
“Not only could the solicited personal information make the physician a victim of financial fraud, but the confidential professional information – such as DEA number – could facilitate illegal drug trafficking. In fact, the fraudulent questionnaire asks the physician to provide two signature samples . . . ‘as you sign on your prescription pad,’” according to the DEA.
Though this scam has been reported in New Jersey, it is likely the extortionists will target physicians in other states.
The DEA provided this guidance to physicians:
“If you reside outside of New Jersey and have experienced a similar inquiry, please contact your state professional board and/or consumer affairs division. Always safeguard your personal and professional data. Always verify the need and authority of unusual requests for information.”
A similar scam is also targeting patients. Patients receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a DEA agent. Patients are then told that that purchasing drugs over the internet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine.
No DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment.
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