Provider Alert: New Jersey Consumer Affairs Issues Emergency Bulletin on Scam Targeting Licensees

Recently, the State of New Jersey, Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) has issued a “SCAM ALERT” with the following, warning all licensed professionals that:

“Individuals [are] impersonating New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) investigators, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, DEA investigators, New Jersey Drug Control Unit investigators, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigators, and other law enforcement personnel, as part of an extortion scheme.”

Typically, the licensee will receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a member of law enforcement (Federal or State) or a member of the Attorney General’s Office, Division of Consumer Affairs. The scammer will threaten an impending criminal action against the licensee unless personal or privileged information is provided to the scammer pursuant to an “ongoing investigation.” Further, the scammer will provide phony identification and will likely know some public identifiers about the licensee, such as a medical license number. At times, the scammers will even offer to close the investigation if the provider arranges for payment of a penalty over the phone.

Licensees should never engage with, nor provide information to, an individual identifying themselves as a law enforcement official if they have never met in person. Law enforcement communicate through formal means (i.e., subpoenas, letters bearing the letterhead of the agency they work for, etc.) or in-person. Agents, law enforcement and representatives from the Board do not call to threaten criminal charges against any person and never ask for payment over the phone.

If you receive such any suspicious call or letter from someone claiming to be investigating you or your practice, contact Frier Levitt immediately. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience defending physicians and other licensees from professional licensing prosecutions, civil actions, and criminal investigations. If you do receive a call from an individual purporting to be a law enforcement official, record all pertinent contact information and contact an attorney before proceeding further. Do not provide any personal or private information.