Scams targeting mental health and medical professionals prompt warnings and concern

Caller pretends to be a member of law enforcement and claims the professional missed a mandatory court date, asks for payment to clear it up
Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 08:24:46-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Both federal officials and industry leaders in the medical field are working to get the word out about a costly scam targeting therapists, nurses, and even doctors right now. News5 is learning more about how it works and why it’s so effective.

”We have big caseloads. There are less counselors today than when COVID started,” said Sara Correll, a mental health professional who has worked hard to help many people in the Pikes Peak Region over the years. ”I’ve had caseloads as high as 80 clients that I’m expected to see in a month’s time and no matter how good you are it’s hard to hold that kind of space for people.”

She says the heavy workload is very common amongst mental health and medical professionals right now and fraudsters are looking to take advantage.

”And they’ll catch you at the end of the day, they’ll catch you when you least expect it because they just have to get one person. Just one,” said Correll.

Alerts about the scam calls are being shared both internally at medical offices and broadly by the federal trade commission. Correll says the calls she knows about go something like this…

”They will identify themselves as some kind of law enforcement stating that we’ve missed some kind of a subpoena or a court appearance and now our license is at risk, they might report us. There’s an arrest warrant and there’s fines involved. They are not only threatening our freedom, but our way of life and reputation,” said Correll.

The scam caller reportedly asks for payment to make the situation go away and Correll says she understands why some of the medical and mental health professionals pay up.

”I have worked 15 years to get these licenses. My most recent one took me 5 years. 5 years! I don’t want to throw that away,” she said.

She hopes by speaking up her colleagues will not feel shame if they’ve listened to a scam call like this and wants people to realize mental health and medical professionals are just as vulnerable to scams as anyone else.

”It’s really traumatic to us and you mentioned the shame piece. We don’t report it because think about it, who wants to go to a counselor who’s been snowed by a fraudster?,” said Correll.

The FTC has issued a consumer alert warning about calls like this.

Suspected fraud and scam calls claiming to be from an officer should be reported to local law enforcement so investigators can verify if it is real or not. It also allows them to appropriate steps to learn more and get the word out if they need to.


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