INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's nurses are being told to beware of a new scam where scammers posing as FBI agents call nurses claiming their license is suspended and the suspension won't be lifted until the nurse pays them thousands of dollars.
Attorney General Todd Rokita put out a warning Monday that his office has received "numerous" complaints from Hoosiers reporting a scam targeting nurses. He said scammers, pretending to be FBI agents, call claiming the nurse's license has been suspended due to a drug trafficking and money laundering investigation.
The scammers then request the nurse wire a government security bond fee of several thousand dollars to the caller in order to reinstate the license.
“In this case, there is a particular ugliness in the fact that these wrongdoers have specifically targeted nurses,” Rokita said. “They are trying to defraud professional men and women whose whole lives are wrapped up in caring for their neighbors during times of greatest need and vulnerability.”
Rokita said the scammers are going the extra mile to convince nurses that their claims are legitimate.
Scammers have demanded payment via fax with a letterhead that appears as if it's from the U.S. Department of Justice and/or the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. They've also demanded the nurse's license numbers and, in some instances, the scammers have been able to make it look like they're calling from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
"Why they spoof the phone number, it makes it appear like it's coming from a legitimate government agency," said Mary Hutchison with Licensing Enforcement. "And so, follow up as well, if you get a call and you have any kind of suspicions call and ask, 'Do you have a board member by this name? Do you have anyone that works there by this name?'"
The licensing department said it will never demand upfront payment from anyone that's being investigated.
Here's what Rokita said frontline workers can do to avoid license scams:
- Be wary of callers who specifically ask you to pay by wire transfer. This type of payment is a red flag and is difficult to trace or reverse.
- Check your license status online on this website.
- Be suspicious of any demands for large dollar amounts to be immediately paid while an investigation is pending. While licensing boards may issue fines for the violation of licensing statutes, fines are limited to $1,000 per violation, and they may only be issued after a final order is issued after a final adjudication of an administrative complaint.
- Be suspicious of any demands for payment delivered by fax or telephone. Licensing boards send final orders requiring the payment of fines by mail to the licensee’s addresses on file with the board.
- Be suspicious of any high-pressure tactics.
- If you suspect fraudulent activity, do not provide any personal information and end the call. Contact the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency at 317-234-2043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who believes they've been deceived by a scammer or fraudulent business practices can file consumer complaints online.