Mutual Matters

Notice of DEA Scam

Posted by Matthew Baker on Jan 10, 2019 11:40:00 AM

R_DoctorOnPhoneMagMutual PolicyOwners℠, along with many other healthcare providers, continue to be targeted by a particularly harrowing extortion scam. It begins with a phone call. Your caller ID reads: "Drug Enforcement Agency," or something equally similar and convincing. It already seems legitimate.

You answer the phone, and the caller identifies themselves as a DEA agent. The caller proceeds to explain to you that your practice is the target of a DEA investigation related to issues with the prescription of controlled drugs or the buying of drugs on the internet. The caller claims that the DEA or FBI agents will soon visit you. Finally, the caller tells you that the matter can be resolved by payment of a fine.

This is a scam. The scam can be an especially convincing and scary for two key reasons:

1) The scammers are using technology to fool your caller ID. From your perspective, it appears that they really are calling you from a DEA office. In reality, they are not calling from a DEA office. In fact, they may even be calling you from overseas. 

2) The scammers are using your personal information against you. The scammers may have acquired your name, phone number, address, credentials, medical license number, or other personal details about you from publicly available sources. Worse yet, the scammers may have acquired very personal information about you from unrelated data breaches (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook). Since the scammer knows this seemingly private information about you when they call, this can easily trick your mind into believing that the scammer is a legitimate authority figure.

The DEA is aware of this scam. The DEA advises that the DEA never contacts anyone via telephone to demand payment. In the event of any real issue, the DEA would make contact via certified mail or an in-person visit by a DEA agent. If you are targeted by this type of extortion scam, please report the incident to the DEA using the following link:

Topics: HIPAA and Cybersecurity

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