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Scam targets Idaho nurses

| August 27, 2020 1:47 PM

BOISE — Idaho’s Attorney General warned Thursday of a scam targeting licensed nurses.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, along with the Idaho Board of Nursing, said the scam can target nurses by phone or through the mail.

An Idaho nurse reportedly received a phone call from a man who falsely identified himself as being from the Idaho Board of Nursing. Another man who claimed to be with the FBI was also on the call.

The men reportedly told the nurse that her license was being suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into her activities. However, the men told her, she could keep her license active with a $17,500 surety bond, which she could reclaim at the conclusion of their investigation. The men then faxed the nurse a form to help generate the payment.

The phone call appeared to come from 208-334-3110, a number formerly used in the Idaho government. However, the men left an 804 area code number as their call back number. The 804 area code covers parts of central and eastern Virginia.

Idaho nurses are also being contacted by mail. In these instances, nurses receive fake but official-looking documents. They appear to be sent by the state nursing board as well as the U.S. Department of Justice.

The phony state letter indicates the nurse is under investigation for allegedly trafficking illegal drugs, and that she will not be allowed to continue practicing past a certain date. Finally, the letter states that the nurse should contact the officer in charge of the investigation and lists an Idaho phone number. The letters were mailed to the nurse’s home address and both reference the nurse’s actual state license number.

“These scams are very targeted in that they’re focused on Idaho nurses at a time of heightened anxiety in the medical profession,” Wasden said. “I find it particularly concerning that these scammers have included (the) address and licensing information specific to their targets. While this information is public record, when used in this manner it makes the communication seem all that more official.”

Wasden and the Idaho Board of Nursing urge nurses to call the board if there’s any question as to the status of their state license.

It's not clear how many of Idaho's roughly 30,000 licensed nurses have been contacted by the scammers or if any have lost money as a result of the scam. Wasden also points out that while nurses are the focus at this time, it’s possible that scammers target other professionals licensed by the state.