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Be aware: Scam targeting nurses in U.S. could come to Canada

A sophisticated phone, mail and email scam is currently impacting some nurses in the United States. Sophisticated scammers are falsely claiming to be a regulator or law enforcement official and are asking nurses for money. While members of several regulatory bodies in the U.S. have been targeted by this scam, we have no indication that it has come to Canada. However, it is possible that Canadians could be targeted in the future and we want to make you aware of the scam so you can protect yourself.

This scam is not associated with the recent cyber attack on CNO.

What the scam involves

In the U.S. scam, fraudsters are contacting nurses claiming to be a regulator or law enforcement official. They use technology to disguise their phone numbers and email addresses so that their correspondence appears to come from an actual regulator. They are also replicating the regulator’s letterhead to send fabricated “Notice of Suspension” letters to nurses.

The fraudsters are contacting nurses to indicate that a case has been filed against the nurse and that immediate action is required to maintain their registration status. The fraudsters claim various false activities may have occurred, such as allegations that someone is writing prescriptions in the nurse’s name, or that the nurse is involved in drug trafficking. They tell the nurse that follow-up action such as payment is required if the nurse wants to maintain their registration while the case is being investigated.

The cases are fraudulent, and any information or money provided goes directly to the scammers.

Protect yourself

As a reminder, CNO will never:

  • ask you to pay a fee as part of any investigation process
  • ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account
  • ask you to pay by gift card or bitcoin 
  • ask you to transfer money through a private money transfer service
  • use threatening or intimidating language
  • offer special deals for registration or to expedite an application process.

What to do if you suspect a scam

If you receive a suspicious phone call:

  • hang up immediately
  • do not provide any personal information, such as social insurance number, date of birth, credit card details, or your personal address
  • write down any details of the call (such as date, time, what was said and phone number the call appears to have come from)
  • keep copies of letters or suspicious emails you may receive
  • do not open any attachments or click on any emailed links.

If you think you may be the target or victim of a scam, you should contact:

If you have concerns about the status of your registration with CNO, confirm your status by searching for your record on the public Register, Find a Nurse. You can also contact us directly by calling or writing.

Further resources to help protect you from scams

Page last reviewed October 30, 2020