Timesunion.com, Rachel Silberstein, February 24,2021
ALBANY - The state Education Department is warning licensed medical professionals in New York about a scam involving telephone calls from people posing as department employees or law enforcement officials.
The callers, who target licensed professionals like nurses, physicians and pharmacists, ask for the intended victim's Social Security number and an immediate bond payment, claiming that the professional’s license has been suspended and payment is required to reverse the suspension and avoid further charges.
The department would never telephone or fax a request for a bond fee or payments related to an ongoing investigation of professional misconduct, state education officials said in a press release.
“It is truly unspeakable that during the challenges of this pandemic there are individuals intentionally seeking to defraud the nurses, pharmacists, and other professionals who have been heroes through all of this,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said in a statement. “I encourage anyone that receives a suspicious call to immediately contact the FBI and your local law enforcement officials to report the incident.”
Using phone "spoofing" technology, the phone calls and faxes appear to come from real government agencies.
Numerous pages of official-looking documents that appear to be from New York state, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Trans Union and the New York state Office of Professions are then sent to targeted professionals, which contain publicly available information including their license number, National Provider Identifier number, name, address, and other personal information.
“The commitment of our front-line workers and licensed professionals to their fellow New Yorkers has been unwavering throughout the pandemic, which is why this scam is so reprehensible,” education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said. “We will work with our partners in law enforcement in any way possible to ensure those responsible for this scam are brought to justice.”
Anyone who has lost money in a phishing scam should immediately notify their bank and file a report with the FBI at Internet Crime Complaint Center. The report must be filed quickly, usually in less than 72 hours, for even a slight chance of recovering any money sent by bank wire transfer.
Victims should also file a report with the local police precinct, notify the Federal Trade Commission and visit IdentityTheft.gov to learn how to mitigate the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.
To check the status of a current registration and ability to practice, visit the agency's Office of the Professions website. Article