The Medical Board of California warned Southlanders Tuesday that scam artists posing as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents or medical board staffers have been calling California physicians as part of an extortion scheme.

“The scammers identify themselves as DEA agents or board staff calling about ongoing investigations regarding their license issued by the Medical Board of California,” according to a statement from the Medical Board.

“The scammers tell victims their license may be suspended for illegal drug trafficking and the suspension means they will not be able to practice,” according to the board.

The scammers may provide an “Agreement for the Bond and Protocols” that includes statements that licensees agree “not to share or disclose the investigation to any third party” — and also agree to a pay a bond fee of $25,000, board officials said.

As part of the fraud operation, the scammers’ phone number may show up on the victims’ phones as the medical board’s actual toll-free number — 800-633-2322.

“No DEA agent or board staff will ever contact physicians by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment,” according to the medical board statement.

Anyone receiving such a call was advised to refuse the demand for payment.

If the callers state they are from the DEA, immediately report the threat using the DEA’s Extortion Scam Online Reporting form, board officials said. And if the callers identify themselves as board employees, contact the board at 800-633-2322 or send an email to webmaster@mbc.ca.gov.

Also, if the phone number of the caller appears to be the medical board’s toll-free number, it is recommended that people submit an online complaint with the Federal Communications Commission using the FCC’s Consumer Complaint form, or contact the board so it can provide the information to the FCC.

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