Scammers impersonating dental board staff target California dentists

Dentists should refuse payment demands and not divulge sensitive information
July 13, 2023
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Quick Summary:
Scammers impersonating California Dental Board officials are contacting dentists and claiming their licenses have been suspended in connection with suspicious drug activity. The scammers then demand dentists take immediate action such as providing sensitive personal information or payment to resolve the matter. Dentists and their staff should be alert for and report the scam, refuse demand for payment and never disclose personal information, such as Social Security or debit card numbers.

A scam targeting dentists is flaring up again. Several CDA members have contacted CDA in the last week to report receiving calls from a scammer who is posing as a Dental Board of California official for the purpose of fraudulently collecting sensitive personal information and payment.

At least one of the dentists fell for the scam.

The scammer or scammers are telling dentists that the dental board suspended their dental license in connection with suspicious drug activity and then demanded the dentists take immediate action, including providing sensitive personal information or payment to resolve the matter. 

The caller’s phone number can even be disguised as a dental board number on the dentist’s caller ID, which may further alarm and intimidate dentists into obliging with the scammers’ demands.

Never disclose personal information, refuse demand for payment

The dental board-impersonation scam was first detected in September 2019 leading the board to post a fraud alert on its website. Around that time, a local dental society told CDA that one of its members reported receiving a call from an individual who claimed to be from the dental board. The fraudster even provided the licensee’s correct license number, but the member hung up when the caller provided the incorrect NPI number. 

The dentist who fell for the scam last week was asked to upload a copy of his driver’s license and complied.

“Board staff members or investigators will never contact licensees demanding money or payment of any form without conducting an official investigation or inquiry,” the dental board alert states. “If you receive such a call, please refuse the demand for payment.” Additionally, dentists should never disclose any personal information, such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, credit/debit card numbers and other such personal information to callers. 

CDA Regulatory Compliance Analyst Teresa Pichay, CHPC, advises dentists to follow the instructions in the board’s alert:

  • Contact the board directly by phone (877.729.7789) or email to inquire if an official investigation is being conducted.
  • Do not disclose any personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth or debit card number.
  • If the caller appears to have a dental board phone number, consider submitting a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

‘Always report the fraudulent call for your records and protection’

Pichay says dentists should take these precautions with any suspicious and unexpected call that employs similar tactics to intimidate the recipient.

For example, in another scam to steal information and extort money, callers have claimed to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency or FBI. Individuals who receive such a call are advised to report the incident to the FBI.

“Always report the fraudulent call for your records and protection,” Pichay says. 

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