Beware of Board of Medicine Imposters

reprinted from the Idaho State Board of Medicine Summer 2022 Newsletter

There have been several attempts to impersonate state employees from the Health Profession Boards within the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (DOPL). These scams have ranged from phone calls, letters, and even faxes. The licensees targeted in most common schemes are those who hold a healthcare license and a DEA registration.

The imposters send out “official” letters that look like they are from the State Boards requesting funds or else licenses will be suspended. They have even gone to the extent of providing the actual license number to individuals.

Some attempts have involved claiming to be a “Chief Officer of Idaho” and an ongoing investigation requiring the licensee to provide information. Scammers even went to the extent of providing badge numbers, case numbers, and referencing to statutes.

Here are some actual examples from Idaho Licensees of how detailed the imposters can be:

Scenario #1:

Licensee was contacted by an individual impersonating investigator from the DOPL stating that the pharmacist license had been suspended due to an investigation which involved the licensee. DOPL impersonator proceeded to ask for payment (wiring/gift cards) which would allow the licensee to continue working during the investigation.

Scenario #2:

Recently in February, a call was received by a licensee from the “State Board” about illegal activities with their license. The caller ID showed “ID State Gov.” The person claimed suspicious activity with licensee, and they were under investigation. Licensee was then transferred to the investigator named “Mike Moore.” He went on to state there was an investigation for drug trafficking with licensee and had their name, license number, and NPI number (Remember this is public information).

“Investigator” said to keep this quiet because speaking to anyone would disrupt their investigation. He claimed licensee could be held liable. “Mr. Moore” requested a personal number so the line could not be tapped. The “investigator” gave the actual number to the Board to call back.

Scenario #3:

The phone call started by asking me if the person was **** and if their license number was ***, which was correct. The female then asked if the licensee was aware of the drug trafficking investigation happening under their name. Imposter then transferred person to the investigational officer “Jeffrey Sallet”, supposed Chief Officer of Idaho. “Mr. Sallett” proceeded to relay to his

phone extension of 208-334-2356 x101, Badge ID: DZ1951, and case number: CP20891R. He stated that licensee would not be allowed to disclose any of the following information to a third party since it would jeopardize the evidence and allow the culprit to get away.

He said the licensee had the right to hire a criminal attorney and should proceed to the closest UPS store to receive a notice of license suspension since licensee did not have access to a fax machine. He kept the licensee on the line while they drove to the UPS store. The fax included was received with ac- tual NPI number, but licensee noticed there were slight differences between this fax and the other official Board papers completed/received in the past. Note: No star in the seal between "State" and "OF" and no PO BOX contact listed.

The fax stated their license was suspended as of that day. “Mr. Sallet” said he would speak to the FBI for a temporary exemption to unfreeze licensee accounts and a temporary approval to practice since licensee worked in a hospital and need to report to shifts. Instructions were also given not to discuss any case information with employer.

Imposter then talked about two federal rights:

1)  Hire a criminal attorney to fight my case in court. Until the case is over, licensee would not be allowed to practice. The consequences were that their license would remain suspended, an arrest warrant would be issued, passport revoked, and finances would be frozen if not innocent.

2)  If licensee were to cooperate with the board for investigation to the FBI, they could help to prove the wrongful use of identity and have license cleared.

He then listed some people of interest that could have framed licensee, and of the seven people listed, two names were recognized.

Licensee was put on a three-way call with the FBI to plead their case. The phone connected to "FBI agent: Oscar Garcia". They asked about why licensee was cooperating and would they to sign some federal bond statement saying they will not leave the country. If they did not comply, they would be charged with $500,000. They mentioned something about a security deposit to ensure licensee was cooperating but did not state the price.

Since the phone call dropped several times, they called back with the same number disguised from the Board and continue to call. During this time, licensee proceeded to call the real board number and was in touch with a helpful individual who confirmed had no issues regarding their license.

Red Flags in scenarios:

  • Investigators within DOPL do not have badge numbers. They have employee ID badges.
  • If you are involved in an investigation, DOPL will send a certified letter to notify you.
  • Payment is never done through wiring/gift cards.

DOPL would not keep you on the phone while you drove to another location to receive a fax.

Here are some suggestions from an article the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

released entitled, “Be on High Alert for Spear Phishing Scams.”

  1. If you receive a phone call, never give out your personal information during the call. Hang up and then only call a number back that you have determined is legitimate through your research.
  2. Never reply to a text message asking for you to call the number provided in the text to discuss your imminent “suspension or revocation of your license.”
    1. Never reply to an email asking for personal information.
    2. Never call a number provided to you in a suspect letter or email.
    3. Use your own verified numbers for contacting the Board of Medicine.
  3. Be vigilant! Do not discard or ignore such communication from scammers, but rather call and/or connect with the Board of Medicine to report the scam.

NCSBNAlert-SpearPhishing-final.pdf

If you are ever questioning such phone calls, letters, or faxes, please call or email DOPL directly from a number found on our website. Always verify suspicious communication. The correct Idaho Board of Medicine contact information:

11341 W Chinden Blvd                                      Website: https://bom.idaho.gov

Boise, Idaho 83714                                            Email: [email protected]

(208) 327-7000