November 29, 2022
The Medical Board of California is warning physicians that scam artists have begun posing as law enforcement officers, as well as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and medical board staff calling California physicians as part of an extortion scheme.
Scammers posing as law enforcement may tell victims they have missed a court date as an expert witness and have a warrant for their arrest. Scammers posing as DEA agents may tell victims their license is suspended for illegal drug trafficking and the suspension means they will not be able to practice. The scammers may provide an “Agreement for the Bond and Protocols” that includes statements that licensees are not to share or disclose the investigation to any third party and agree to a bond fee payment of $25,000.
The scammers’ phone number may show up as the medical board’s toll-free number (800) 633-2322, or, if posing as law enforcement, they may impersonate actual law enforcement officers using their real names.
Please note, law enforcement officers, DEA agents and medical board staff will never contact physicians by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. If you receive one of these calls, refuse the demand for payment. Please also consider the following:
If the caller is stating they are from the DEA, immediately report the threat using the DEA’s Extortion Scam Online Reporting form.
If the caller insists that they speak with you right away, tell them that you’ll call them back directly. At this point, some scammers will offer you a phone number as a way to verify they are who they say they are. Don’t call the number the scammers provided; instead call the medical board's toll-free number at (800) 633-2322.
If the phone number of the caller appears to be the medical board’s toll-free number, it is recommended that you submit an online complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) using the FCC's Consumer Complaint form.