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Published: January 15, 2020

Phone Scam Alert: Scam Artists Posing as US DEA and MBC

From the Medical Board of California:

The Medical Board of California (Board) has learned that scam artists posing as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and Board staff/investigators are contacting physicians by telephone stating they are under investigation and demanding money.

The extortion scam calls reported to the Board share many of the following characteristics:

  • The call scammers may provide physicians with a letter or fax, or attempt to send the physician to a United Parcel Service-UPS (or similar location) to receive a "registered fax" from the Board and DEA. This fax may look legitimate as it contains the Board’s and DEA’s logo, address and phone number, the physician’s medical license number and National Provider Identifier (NPI). However, this is all public information.
  • The scammers use fake names and DEA badge numbers, and speak in an urgent and demanding tone.
  • The scammers may provide an "Agreement for Bond and Protocols" stating the physician is not to share or disclose the investigation to any third party and the physician must agree to a bond fee payment of $45,000.
  • The scammers may falsify the number on caller ID to make it appear as a legitimate phone number of the Board, such as (916) 263-2389 or the Board’s toll-free number (800) 633-2322. Some physicians have also received calls from an (804) Virginia area code.

Please Note: The Medical Board of California and DEA will never contact physicians by telephone to demand money or any form of payment, nor will the Board or DEA request any personal or sensitive information over the telephone.

If you receive a scam call -- refuse the demand for payment, do not disclose any personal information (i.e. social security numbers, date of birth, credit card numbers, etc.) and please immediately consider doing the following:

  • If the caller states he/she is an employee of the Medical Board of California, please report the call to the Board by phone at 1-800-633-2322 or send an e-mail to webmaster@mbc.ca.gov.
  • If the caller states he/she is an employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), immediately report the threat using the DEA’s Extortion Scam Online Reporting form.
  • If the phone number of the caller appears to be from the Board’s toll-free number (1-800-633-2322) or headquarters office (916-263-2389), please submit an online complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) using the FCC's Consumer Complaint form or contact the Board so it can provide this information to the FCC.

Reporting these scam calls will greatly assist in investigating and stopping this criminal activity. Any concerns or questions, including inquiries about legitimate investigations by the Board, should be directed to the Board 1-800-633-2322 or webmaster@mbc.ca.gov.

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