BALTIMORE—The FBI is warning those employed in the healthcare industry about ongoing widespread fraud schemes in which scammers pose as law enforcement or government officials in an attempt to extort money or steal personally identifiable information (PII).
HOW IT WORKS
Scammers, as part of a large criminal network, seek background information about their targets through a doctor’s office website and/or social media and supplement this information with information found on social media websites mainstream such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., pretending to be legitimate.
Scammers often spoof genuine phone numbers and names and use fake credentials from well-known government and law enforcement agencies to inform the intended target that they have been subpoenaed to provide a testimonial. expert in a criminal or civil case. The medical professional is notified since he did not appear in court, he violated the subpoena, he was held in contempt and a warrant for his arrest was issued against him.
The targeted victim is informed that if they pay a fine, they will no longer be held in contempt. The scammers use an urgent and aggressive tone coupled with scare tactics that claim the target victim is currently under surveillance and that an arrest warrant will involve an early morning police raid. The intended victim is warned that failure to comply will result in the revocation of their medical license.
Payment is demanded in various forms, the most common being prepaid cards, wire transfers and cash, sent by post or inserted into cryptocurrency ATMs. Victims are asked to read prepaid card numbers over the phone or text a picture of the card. Cash sent by post will be concealed or wrapped to avoid detection by normal mail scanning devices. Wire transfers are often sent overseas and sometimes in-person cash payments or deposits are made.
If victims pay money, a new reason to send additional funds is used, such as additional court costs for having to continue the hearing. Often, scammers change tactics and pose as law enforcement agents by stating that their victim has been identified as a participant in a scam and is currently under investigation for their role in sending money to criminals. They are then told that another payment will clear them of their share of the scam.
- Law enforcement authorities or government officials will never contact members of the public or physicians by telephone to demand any form of payment or to request personal or sensitive information. Any legitimate investigation or legal action will be made in person or by official letter.
- Always ask for credentials to validate identity.
- NO legitimate law enforcement or government officials will request payment via prepaid cards or cryptocurrency ATMs.
- Never give out personally identifiable information (PII) to anyone without verifying that the person is who they say they are.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM
- Immediately stop all contact with the scammers.
- Inform your financial institutions and protect all financial accounts.
- Contact your local police and file a police report.
- File a complaint with the FBI IC3 at www.ic3.gov.
- Be sure to retain all financial transaction information, including prepaid cards and bank statements, as well as all telephone, text or electronic communications.