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ALERT: Some state licensing boards report spoofing scam

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Word first reached NEWStat through an alert on the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) website.

NEWStat talked to James Penrod, CAE, FASLA, executive director of the AAVSB board of directors, to find out more.

“We’re aware of at least two veterinary state boards [that have] put out messages that scammers [are] spoofing the license board’s number to try to get personal or sensitive information from licensees,” Penrod said, adding that state boards in Hawaii and Maine have posted alerts about the scam. The AAVSB followed suit and passed on what details they had: “We know that the caller ID appears to be authentic. It says the call’s coming from the professional licensing board. They’re claiming that the licensee is under investigation, or their license is in danger of being suspended, and trying to gain information that way.”

Penrod isn’t aware of whether any veterinarians have been victimized by the scammers: “We don’t have data on that.”

NEWStat followed up with Jessica Gowell, a professional licensing supervisor with the State of Maine’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which oversees the Maine Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Like Penrod, she didn’t have specific information regarding veterinarians but acknowledged that her office regulates the licensure of more than 30 professions. “A [human] physical therapist called and notified us [that she’d been contacted], but I haven’t heard of any veterinarians receiving this call.”

NEWStat was unable to reach the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Professional and Vocational Licensing Division (DCCA), which regulates licensing for the Hawaii Board of Veterinary Medicine, but a notice on its website indicates that the situation in the Aloha State is similar to that in Maine—scammers are actively targeting licensed medical professionals, but not necessarily veterinarians.

Not yet, anyway: “The DCCA recently received reports of fake calls to a registered nurse using the Board of Nursing’s phone number and to a physician with the Hawaii Medical Board’s number. It is likely scammers will attempt to do this across all industries, so all Hawaii licensees should be vigilant.”

Penrod mentioned that the AAVSB has received warnings about similar phishing attempts from scammers impersonating DEA agents, an ongoing scam that’s been around for at least a year that targets DEA registrants who recently purchased controlled substances online or by telephone.

If you’re a licensee who receives a suspicious phone call, the AAVSB advises that you hang up and contact your state licensing board directly; don’t share any sensitive information over the phone.

“We wanted to make sure to get this information out to all our member boards,” Penrod told NEWStat. “Obviously, you don’t want folks giving out their personal information.”