Alert: Scammers Demanding Bogus Fines For Drug Purchases
By Joey Berlin

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Texas Medical Association are warning physicians to keep their ears open for scammers trying to defraud doctors into paying a nonexistent federal fine.

Recently, an Austin women's health clinic received a call from a scammer demanding payment, a clinic employee reported to  TMA. DEA_scam(1)

The DEA has warned about this type of scam before, saying a scammer may claim to be either a DEA agent or law enforcement official from another agency. The victims are usually people who purchased drugs over the internet or by phone.

The scammers tell their victims buying drugs over the internet or phone is a crime, and they’ll face enforcement action unless they pay a fine. They usually tell their victims to pay the fine “via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas,” the DEA says. Victims who refuse to send the money are often threatened with arrest or a search of their property. 

The DEA says that none of its agents will ever contact members of the public by phone to demand any form of payment. Anyone receiving one of these calls should refuse the demand for money and report the threat online using the form here.

Last year, a Houston physician contacted the Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) to report that scammers had tried to take advantage of him. The scammer — who had the physician’s National Provider Identifier number — threatened to come to the physician's office and arrest him if he did not pay a fine, the physician told TMLT. 


Last Updated On

April 01, 2019

Joey Berlin

Associate Editor

(512) 370-1393

Joey Berlin is associate editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Kansas. He lives in Austin.

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