Fake FDA warning letter scam

When you get an FDA warning letter (like if you are a non-compliant stem cell clinic) you generally aren’t feeling too well after reading it, but now there’s an extra thing to worry about according to the FDA.

fake FDA warning letter
Example of part of a fake FDA warning letter

A fake FDA warning letter.

Apparently 3-dozen or more of these fake FDA warning letters sparked complains to the agency. Reporter Stephanie M. Lee over at BuzzFeed Science was on this too.

First thought: maybe it’s kind of like those phone messages being left all over America saying the cops are coming to your house if you don’t send someone a big old iTunes gift card in 1 hour? It appears not so. Another article points to 2 potential giveaways that the warnings are a fake:

“First, the letters are addressed to individuals, specifically individuals who have purchased medicine online or by phone. FDA typically sends Warning Letters to companies such as makers or distributors of violative products, or to proprietors of websites selling what appear to be violative products, but not to consumer users.

Second, this isn’t much of a scam, at least not so far. Because legitimate Warning Letters don’t come with a dollar amount penalty, it’s not clear what the scammers are trying to get the recipients to do. These letters are not like fake Internal Revenue Service phone messages in which the scammer tells the taxpayer the only way to avoid trouble is to send them X dollars right away.”

So they aren’t so much like those bogus phone calls.

And (so far) they aren’t being sent to sponsors, but rather to individuals who bought drugs from illegal pharmacies.

Who is sending these? The author of the 2nd article, Eric F. Greenberg, has a theory: “The scammer is an overly zealous government regulator acting out of a sincere but misguided motivation to accomplish the agency’s mission of thwarting illegal online sales.”

I’m guessing the FDA is on the case.