CMS Warns Industry About Fax Scam

Ben Amirault, for HealthLeaders Media , June 18, 2009

Many providers received an alert message from CMS this morning informing them that scammers are sending fake faxes and posing as a Medicare carrier or Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) in order to obtain billing information.

According to Peter Ashkenaz, CMS deputy director of media affairs, the agency discovered the scheme when several providers called CMS after receiving the suspicious faxes. The faxes asked physician staff to respond to a questionnaire and provide an account information update within 48 hours in order to prevent a gap in Medicare payments. The faxes may have included the CMS or MAC logo.

Ashkenaz says CMS wanted to get the word out to providers immediately. "At this time, we don’t know much more than what is in the release," Ashkenaz says.

Ashkenaz adds he could not speculate on what charges the scammer/scammers could face or what could be done with the information, but he did say possession of billing information could lead to fraudulent billing of Medicare or other insurance providers.

CMS informed physicians and non-physician practitioners that they should be wary of the request and check with their contractor before submitting any information. CMS added that Medicare providers should only send information to a Medicare contractor using the address found in the download section of the Web site found at or

Ben Amirault is an Editorial Assistant for the revenue cycle division of HCPro. He manages the Compliance Monitor e-newsletter and has developed a number of online learning modules. He can be reached at

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