Department of Health Professions Warns of Scams Directed at Health Care Professionals

Licensees encouraged to contact health regulatory boards about questionable calls

RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Health Professions (DHP) is warning licensees of scam attempts to obtain money or financial and personal information from health professionals by posing as an official from a health regulatory board or a DEA agent. Scammers may use “spoofed” telephone numbers or email addresses that appear to be from DHP, and may demand payment from the health professional to avoid license suspension or legal action.

The Department became aware of this scam activity over the last year and has issued alerts to the more than 400,000 healthcare professionals it licenses. However, this criminal activity appears to be increasing, and is national in scale. Last fall the FBI issued a Liaison Information Report to warn medical providers of a nationwide fraud scheme targeting them.

According to DHP Director David Brown, “Some of our licensees, including physicians, dentists and nurses, have been contacted by scammers posing as representatives of one of our health regulatory boards or the DEA. Their illicit demands have often been made using a telephone number that appears to be from DHP, or a fax or email on official looking letterhead or email address, and are accompanied by threats of arrest or suspension of a practitioner’s license unless fees are paid.”

DHP health regulatory boards and DHP staff never ask for confidential information, such as a social security number, date of birth, or bank or credit card numbers, over the phone. Licensees are encouraged to contact their health regulatory board with questions or concerns. In addition, to verify the identity of a DHP investigator or inspector, licensees may call the DHP Enforcement Division at 804-367-4691 or by email at Suspected fraudulent communications should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC Complaint Assistance or 1-877-382-4357. Scammers representing as Drug Enforcement Agents should be reported to the DEA from their website.

The mission of the Department of Health Professions is to ensure safe and competent patient care by licensing health professionals, enforcing standards of practice, and providing information to health care practitioners and the public.