An ongoing fraud ring has been preying on health care practitioners throughout the year.
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The fraudulent behavior includes using the Washington Medical Commission’s (WMC) phone number, email and web URL; pretending to be Drug Enforcement Administration agents; and posing as Department of Health officials in order to make providers think they are in trouble with regulators or the law and may be in danger of discipline or loss of license.
These people are researching specific practitioners and attempting to exploit them with personal information. If they are successful, they will move forward with requests for money or information to help them carry out additional scams.
Recent near-victims of the scam were:
- Sent papers with official looking letterhead from the WMC and U.S. Department of Justice that contained forged signatures of WMC officials and fictional investigative staff
- Called by someone claiming to be looking into their “over-prescribing of opioids”
- Told they were under official investigation for drug related charges and that their license was immediately suspended
- Told not to check the WMC website because that would mean they are guilty
- Recipients of emails that had wmc.wa.gov in the address
Practitioners should keep these facts in mind:
- Real regulatory agencies will not ask you for money
- Real regulatory agencies will not ask you to respond to any action in less than 20 days
- Real regulatory agencies will not advise against speaking with your own lawyer
- Real regulatory agencies will not ask you to confirm personal details, passwords, or social security numbers
The WMC recommends these precautions:
- Never click on links or download suspicious attachments
- Don’t fall prey to a manufactured urgency. A vital component of this fraud is the urgency of request or demand. If you are contacted by a regulatory agency you will have a legally protected amount of time to respond
- Verify requests before you act. Verify with WMC that paperwork of any kind has been sent to you by calling 360-236-2750
- Restrict personal information online. Scammers leverage personal information from social media accounts or other public forums
This press release was provided by the Washington Medical Commission.