Beware of the United States National Medical Association Scam

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • I’ve been receiving e-mails from a group claiming to be the United States National Medical Association or US NMA. As soon as I saw that title, my red-flag alarm went off since there is no such organization. The group that provides medical oversight in the U.S. is the American Medical Association.

    The text of the e-mail begins, “Do you buy pharmaceuticals online? The US NMA was specifically established to protect the consumer. Our experts check every online shop for bogus medicines. The blacklist of unreliable or simply fraud shops is updated every week. We strongly recommend to visit our site before buying any medical products online.” It goes on to list several methods of online “cheating.” The poor syntax raised a second red flag, telling me that it most likely came from a foreign country.
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    If there were any remaining doubts that something was not quite right, all I had to do was click on the link they provided claiming it would take me to a list of fraudulent Web sites. What the link actually took me to was a site called My Canadian Pharmacy, where a number of popular prescription medications were offered at amazingly low prices.

    I did some further research and discovered that My Canadian Pharmacy is the front for a Russian, or possibly Ukrainian, spam operation whose purpose is credit card fraud and identity theft. They’ve been operating under various guises since at least spring of 2004 and are wanted by a number of international law enforcement groups. Apparently there is no record of anyone ever receiving a product ordered from them.

    The Devil is in the Details

    These shysters are masters of deception and are adept at hiding behind a maze of technical infrastructure. Some facts I learned about the illusion of legitimacy they create include:
    • A fake address. They give an actual Toronto address, however, the business located there is not theirs.
    • A photo of what is supposedly the high-rise building housing their headquarters. Close scrutiny reveals that the photo has been doctored to place their name on another building.
    • Photos of the company “owners” came from a Web site that provides stock photos.
    • A set of logos and seals that are supposed to assure that the site is both legitimate and secure, such as Pharmacy Checker, Better Business Bureau, Verified by Visa, Verisign, and the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. However, clicking on the logos does not take you to the actual sites represented but instead takes you to a site or a popup window they have designed to give the appearance of verifying their legitimacy.
    • A “license” that is almost entirely made up of bogus information and phony “facts.”

    This is not the only spam I’ve received promoting prescription drugs––it’s just the most recent and the most deceptive. I can’t caution you strongly enough to be extremely careful about purchasing prescription drugs online. If you buy from the wrong site, you could be jeopardizing more than your money. You could be putting your life in danger.

  • To learn more about Internet pharmacies, read “A Guide to Buying Prescription Drugs Online.”
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Published On: July 11, 2007