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Jun 6, 2022

Beware of Scams Targeting Therapists

Curt and Katie discuss common scams that specifically target therapists. We look at how to identify scams or sketchy business practices that can be very confusing as well as dangerous to clinicians. We also talk about how to protect yourself as well as solid business practices that you can implement to stave off some of these scammers.  

Transcripts for this episode will be available at!

In this podcast episode we talk about scams that target therapists

We have heard about a lot of scams in our careers. We figured it was time to do another “survival guide” episode on how to protect ourselves as therapists.

What are the most common scams targeting therapists?

“And most of the scams seem to be trying to tell someone that they are in trouble -  And if you just pay me this trouble will go away.” – Katie Vernoy

  • Information used from popular therapist directories
  • Claiming to be a law enforcement professional, missed court date, or the IRS
  • Image copyright infringement
  • Businesses that target you to charge them for things that are free or with another company
  • Clients or people seeking therapy for family members and then overpay and ask for a refund
  • Text messages or emails with unsolicited links that can leave malware on your computer
  • Phishing schemes
  • Testing stolen credit cards or stolen identities

How can modern therapists protect ourselves from these scams?

“Be skeptical of these things, hang up, call legitimate numbers from the offices of these departments. And if nothing else, let those departments know, let your professional organizations know – these are the kinds of messages that I'm receiving. Those organizations will usually have some kind of response that they blast out to their members with their licensees, hey, there's a scam going around, be aware of it.” – Curt Widhalm

  • Get into wise mind (avoid responding to false urgency)
  • Go through official channels (contact actual officials)
  • Contact an attorney if unsure
  • Understand how legal notices are properly delivered
  • Caution with financial systems and not allowing people to pay upfront
  • Requiring person seeking services to contact therapist
  • Cyber security trainings
  • Communicating appropriately and consistently
  • Holding to systems and boundaries
  • Make sure to share these scams with professional organizations, the official entity, or your licensing board


Our Generous Sponsors for this episode of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide:

GreenOak Accounting

 At GreenOak Accounting, they believe that every private practice should be profitable. They’ve worked with hundreds of practice owners across the country to have the financial confidence and information to make data-driven decisions. We want our client's businesses to be profitable so they can focus on fulfilling their mission.

GreenOak Accounting specializes in working with therapists in private practice, and they have helped hundreds of therapists across the country reach their financial goals. They offer a number of monthly packages to fit a growing practice's needs - from bookkeeping to CFO services. Other specialized services include Profit First Support, compensation planning, and customized KPI Dashboards. They help therapists achieve their clinical goals by making sure they have a profitable practice, and offer unsurpassed support along the way.

If you’re interested in scheduling a complimentary consultation, please visit their website at to learn more.


Thrizer is a new modern billing platform for therapists that was built on the belief that therapy should be accessible AND clinicians should earn what they are worth. Their platform automatically gets clients reimbursed by their insurance after every session. Just by billing your clients through Thrizer, you can potentially save them hundreds every month, with no extra work on your end. Every time you bill a client through Thrizer, an insurance claim is automatically generated and sent directly to the client's insurance. From there, Thrizer provides concierge support to ensure clients get their reimbursement quickly, directly into their bank account. By eliminating reimbursement by check, confusion around benefits, and obscurity with reimbursement status, they allow your clients to focus on what actually matters rather than worrying about their money. It is very quick to get set up and it works great in completement with EHR systems. Their team is super helpful and responsive, and the founder is actually a long-time therapy client who grew frustrated with his reimbursement times The best part is you don't need to give up your rate. They charge a standard 3% payment processing fee!

Thrizer lets you become more accessible while remaining in complete control of your practice. A better experience for your clients during therapy means higher retention. Money won't be the reason they quit on therapy. Sign up using if you want to test Thrizer completely risk free! Sign up for Thrizer with code 'moderntherapists' for 1 month of no credit card fees or payment processing fees! That’s right - you will get one month of no payment processing fees, meaning you earn 100% of your cash rate during that time.

Resources for Modern Therapists mentioned in this Podcast Episode:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Abundance Practice Building Article on Copyright Infringement

From Joe Borders: Currently Active Scams Targeting Therapists

From APA: Protect your practice from scams targeting psychologists

From APA: More reports surface of telephone scammers targeting psychologists

From the SF Chronicle: ‘He held me hostage with no gun but with his words’: The phone scam gaslighting therapists

From Counseling Today: Technology Tutor: Scams aimed at counselors

From Psych Today: The Phone Scam That Targets Psychologists

From CPH & Associates: Scam Targeting Therapists: What You Need to Know

From 10News.Com: The jury duty scam you should know about


Relevant Episodes of MTSG Podcast:

Who’s in the Room? Siri, Alexa, and Confidentiality

Malpractice is No Joke

Gaslighting Therapists


Who we are:

Curt Widhalm, LMFT

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making "dad jokes" and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at:

Katie Vernoy, LMFT

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt's youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at:

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

Stay in Touch with Curt, Katie, and the whole Therapy Reimagined #TherapyMovement:


Buy Me A Coffee

Podcast Homepage

Therapy Reimagined Homepage






Consultation services with Curt Widhalm or Katie Vernoy:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Connect with the Modern Therapist Community:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group


Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Creative Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano