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Fraudulent ADA dues billing reported

January 05, 2012

By Karen Fox

If you recently received a membership renewal communication by fax, take a closer look.

On Jan. 3, a number of member and nonmember dentists began contacting the ADA regarding the faxes, prompting the Association to distribute an alert stating that the ADA does not use fax communications to collect membership dues. The ADA does not sell, rent or publish in any way the fax numbers of current or former member dentists in its database.

Dentists whose offices were in receipt of a fax were advised to not respond or send payment to the P.O. box listed. The fax appears to be a standard invoice that asks the recipient to send a $575 payment to the American Dental Association/ADA Association, Membership Processing Dept., P.O. Box 1483, Brockton, MA 02303-1483.

Within hours of the ADA becoming aware of the fraud, communications were sent to member and nonmember dentists with an email address in the database; leadership and staff at state and local dental societies; recognized specialty organizations; and other organizations and individuals within the dental community.

Since then, the ADA has continued to work closely with U.S. Postal Service authorities. The following is a brief summary of action that has been taken to protect members:

  • On Jan. 5, within 48 hours of learning about this issue, the ADA filed a civil action in the Boston federal court that issued a temporary restraining order requiring that any mail sent to the P.O. box listed in the fraudulent invoices should be held by the U.S. Postal Service and not made available to the individual renting the P.O. box.
  • On Jan. 17, the temporary restraining order was converted into a preliminary injunction, and the ADA was permitted to release information regarding legal efforts taken on behalf of its members.
  • The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is considering instituting an investigation and has also referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston for possible criminal prosecution.

"We are pleased with the immediate action of our legal team and the efforts of staff to get the word out quickly to dentists throughout the country," said ADA Executive Director, Dr. Kathleen O'Loughlin. "We also recognize the actions of constituent and component societies who acted swiftly to post alerts on their websites and help with the communications efforts."

If you still have a copy of what you believe may be a fraudulent invoice, forward it to Tom Elliott, deputy chief legal counsel, by email at elliottt@ada.org or by fax to 1-312-440-2562, along with your name and ADA membership number.

Thus far, the post office in Brockton, Mass., has received more than 170 pieces of mail addressed to the P.O. box listed on the fraudulent invoice. The ADA believes that actions to seal the post office box occurred before any checks were received, as the P.O. box was empty when sealed Jan. 5.

As a precaution, if you sent a check to the P.O. box, the ADA encourages you to stop payment on the check. While there is normally a small cost associated with this, there is also the comfort of knowing the check cannot be cashed.

If you sent a check in response to the invoice, contact the ADA Member Service Center at the toll-free number or 1-312-440-2500. ADA staff is assembling a list of dentists known to have sent checks in order to communicate and reconcile records with the U.S. Postal Service. You will be asked to complete a release form that will allow us to verify if the P.O. box has received a check from you. The U.S. Postal Service may also communicate directly with individuals who have sent mail to the P.O. box.

Constituent and component executive directors and leadership are urged to share this information with membership and communications staff and direct further questions or concerns to the ADA Member Service Center at the toll-free number.