Please be aware of a scam targeting Washington health care providers in which scammers pose as the DOH and FBI.
We want to make members aware of a scam, first reported in October 2020, that continues to target Washington health care providers.
In this scam, health care providers may receive phone calls and/or faxes from scammers claiming to represent the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) or the federal Department of Justice. The scammers may tell the provider that their license has been suspended and that the provider is under investigation by the FBI. Scammers eventually demand that the provider wire money to an international bank to reinstate their license and resolve the FBI investigation.
Please remember the following to avoid falling victim to a scam:
- The DOH will never ask providers to wire money to save a license. According to the DOH, “If any issues do arise potentially affecting a health care professional’s Washington license, that person will receive written communication by mail and/or by email from an investigator at a verifiable Department of Health email address. That investigator would also provide a Department of Health phone number to contact with questions.” The DOH will not contact you via fax.
- If you receive a suspicious call from a number claiming to represent the DOH or the FBI, hang up. Scammers can easily spoof incoming phone calls to appear to be from state or federal agencies. See bullet point one — DOH will first contact you by mail and/or email (not fax) regarding an issue with your license.
- If you ever have a question about the status of your license, you may verify its status using the DOH Provider Credential Search.
WSDA heard from a member dentist who was targeted by scammers this week. Luckily, the dentist recognized the scam before wiring any money. However, they want to share their experience with other dentists in order to emphasize how real and stressful the situation can feel in the moment.
“I want to share my experience as it is still so fresh so who knows it may help other colleagues if they ever receive the same call,” the dentist wrote. “Yesterday morning, I received a call from DOH regarding an investigation by FBI. They informed me that FBI found a package of 46.5gr cocaine, oxycodone, meth, etc. under my DEA #. They informed me that I am the prime suspect right now and FBI asked DOH to investigate further.”
The dentist at first suspected a scam, but due to the caller ID matching the phone number on the DOH website and the professionalism of the person on the phone, they became unsure. The scammers did not ask for money right away, and instead kept in contact with the dentist while using a variety of scare tactics throughout the day before asking for a wire transfer the following morning. Instead of wiring money, the dentist got off the phone with the scammers and called the DOH directly to ask about the situation. The DOH then confirmed that it was a scam.
“I can’t tell you how relieved I felt at the moment,” the dentist shared. “Their tactic is to create a stressful situation that can blind your mind. My brain did not think carefully because of all the adrenaline.”