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Alert issued for extortion telephone scam targeting DEA registrants, including doctors

Doctors are the latest target of an extortion telephone scam, with the callers posing as federal agents.

Courtney Ann Jackson, WLBT, Jun 14, 2019

It’s rare that staff would call Dr. Justin Turner out of an appointment like they did Thursday, but the call seemed urgent.

“Someone basically saying someone has been using your license number and it’s very serious," explained Turner. "And that they’re the DEA which is the Drug Enforcement Administration. So, I’m a little concerned now with everything going on with the opioid epidemic.”

The DEA agent impersonator claimed Dr. Turner’s information had become tied to a drug trafficking scheme.

“We have you and your prescription with your license number, with your DEA number, with your signature," recalled Turner about the caller’s explanation. "He said ‘are you sure you’re not aware of it? He was like you have to be honest. There’s actually a warrant out for your arrest.’”

Turner worried that it’s a terrible yet plausible scenario for this reason.

“Unfortunately, plenty of physicians have gotten in major major trouble because someone else took a prescription pad and went out and sold prescriptions, wrote prescriptions," said Turner. "It’s not uncommon.”

The call goes on for more than an hour before the caller asks for money to help keep the news from going public. The caller requests a $26,000 security deposit. It was when Turner asked for documentation that he was convinced it was a scam. Another red flag... it was from a gmail address.

“I’m just trying to serve people and do God’s will," Turner added. "And wow, there’s a lot of evil people out there.”

He’s since realized there was a DEA alert about the scam and the agency is asking others to report any instances like this.

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