ATLANTA – State officials say Georgia professionals are being targeted by “government imposters” threatening to revoke their licenses if they're not paid thousands of dollars.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp issued a warning Wednesday about the scam, which involves fraudulent calls and emails from a fake entity calling itself “The Bureau of Occupational Licenses.”
Headed by someone calling himself “Tai Le,” the scam demands payment by cashier’s check or reloadable Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
“I am encouraging all Georgians to be on heightened alert for this scam by government imposters,” Kemp said in a prepared statement. “You may receive aggressive calls or emails on official-looking letterhead alleging that your business has violated the law, but the ‘Bureau of Occupational Licenses’ is not a real government agency in Georgia. Do not fall for this scam, and immediately report all suspicious activities to our investigators or local law enforcement.”
The scam appears to be targeting people in the cosmetology and nail care industry, but Kemp urged all license holders to be vigilant.
The Flowery Branch Police Department has already opened one criminal fraud investigation based on a nail salon owner’s report. The victim was conned into loading $2,000 onto Green Dot MoneyPak cards to avoid revocation of the salon’s license.
No legitimate professional licensing board in Georgia will ever call a license holder and demand immediate payment of a fine, and no legitimate professional licensing board will accept payment in Green Dot MoneyPak cards or other reloadable payment cards, state officials said.
If you receive a call from somebody demanding payment in reloadable payment cards to settle a government fine, that person is attempting to scam you, officials said.
“Tai Le” might use the phone numbers 470-345-9707 or 470-528-1105 to contact potential victims.
In addition to making verbal threats by phone, the con artist is forging signatures from actual staff at the Secretary of State’s Professional Licensing Boards Division to make correspondence appear legitimate, officials said. The scam might be targeting individuals with limited English proficiency by using confusingly worded emails and rambling legalese.
Kemp encourages anyone who might suspect fraud to immediately contact the Secretary of State’s Investigations Division by calling 404-656-2881 or emailing email@example.com. The office’s investigators will coordinate with local law enforcement to prosecute any fraudulent activity.