California medical board warns of new physician extortion scam using its number

The Medical Board of California is warning physicians of scam artists impersonating law enforcement officers, Drug Enforcement Agency agents or the medical board staff.

Calls from scam artists may appear to come from the medical board's toll-free number or from local law enforcement offices. Neither law enforcement officers nor the medical board will contact physicians over the phone to demand money, the California Medical Association said in a Nov. 29 notice.

The medical association offered the following advice to physicians: If you are concerned that it may be a real call, tell the person you will call them back. Do not call the number they may provide you; this will likely lead you back to the scammer. Instead, call the medical board's toll free number or call the number of the DEA or local law enforcement office listed online.

Scammers posing as law enforcement staff may tell victims they missed a court date as an expert witness or have a warrant for their arrest. Scam artists may use the identities of real law enforcement officers.

Scammers posing as DEA agents may tell physicians their license is suspended for illegal drug trafficking and the suspension means they will not be able to practice. They may then provide an "agreement for the bond and protocols," which states licensees are not to share or disclose the investigation to any third party and agree to pay a bond fee of $25,000. If receiving a call from a scam artist pretending to be the DEA, report it immediately here.

If the caller claims to be from the medical board and demands money, the medical association recommends calling the toll free number directly. Physicians who feel they have been targeted by a phone scam are encouraged to submit an online complaint with the FCC here.

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