Fraud in the Time of Corona: Beware of Individual Impersonating OCR Investigator


The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an alert on April 3, 2020, to warn HIPAA covered entities and business associates that an individual was contacting covered entities and attempting to obtain Protected Health Information (PHI) by posing as an OCR investigator.

Per the alert, the impostor contacts covered entities on the telephone and identifies themselves as an OCR investigator. The OCR advised covered entities and business associates to protect themselves by verifying the identity of an OCR investigator by asking for his or her e-mail address and asking for a confirming e-mail from the address. All OCR investigators have an e-mail address ending in ""

OCR also noted that questions or concerns regarding the identity of an investigator should be directed to, and suspected incidents of individuals posing as federal law enforcement should be reported directly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In connection with the arrest of an unrelated perpetrator who used the pandemic to expand his preexisting kickback schemes and capitalize on a national emergency for his own financial gain, Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta stated, "[a]t a time when Americans are coming together in many different ways to help our fellow citizens make it through this crisis, it is unfathomable to think that some people, driven by personal greed, would try to take advantage of people who need help the most. Though the FBI has had to adapt to doing business in this trying time, we want to make it clear that we are continuing to protect our citizens and uphold the Constitution."

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