DEA imposters targeting physicians and pharmacies


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Recent reports of scams targeting physicians and pharmacies serve as reminders to providers and health care organizations to be cautious when receiving unusual communications purportedly from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA has issued numerous warnings about phone calls, faxes or letters from individuals posing as DEA agents attempting to obtain a physician’s DEA registration number or signature or protected health information, such as social security numbers and credit card data. In some instances, these imposters have also tried to collect fees. It has been reported that individuals posing as DEA agents have even threatened legal action if the requested information is not provided to them.   

These communications often appear official, and calls may even appear to be from a DEA telephone number. A recent warning posted to the DEA’s website provides examples of faxes sent to pharmacies on official-looking letterhead that appear to be part of an audit and certificate verification program. The DEA has stated it does not send unsolicited faxes or emails requesting sensitive data, and it  will never seek such information or threaten legal action by telephone or the internet. 

Importantly, health care organizations should continue to observe the Federal Trade Commission’s best practices to avoid fraud. Also, if you receive a suspicious call, email or fax, you should refuse to provide any information or payment. You may report the solicitation using the DEA’s extortion scam online reporting form. If you have any doubts regarding the authenticity of any correspondence purportedly from the DEA, be sure to verify the request with the DEA or contact legal counsel.

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