Fraud Warning and Scam Alert
Individuals orchestrating frauds and scams use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. They add new twists to old schemes including, at times, using the American Heart Association’s name or content.
Disclosure of Personal Information
The AHA recommends that you be vigilant and suspicious of any email that asks you to provide your email password, or sensitive personal information like social security number, credit card number or drivers’ license number. The American Heart Association will never ask for that information by email.
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association do NOT endorse products or services. Any claims that the AHA endorses a specific commercial product, process, service or enterprise are not true.
The American Heart Association may certify specific products or services that have met specific criteria. Please visit these links for more information on our Hospital Certification Program and Heart-Check Program.
Certified Trainers or Courses
The American Heart Association does not certify trainers, doctors or training courses created by other organizations. Any claims that training products or materials are “AHA Certified,” “AHA Approved,” “AHA Compliant” or “created by AHA certified” people, where the “AHA” means the American Heart Association, are not true.
If you suspect telephone solicitations, emails or other communications are making fraudulent claims related to the American Heart Association or American Stroke Association, please contact us right away at 1-800-242-8721 or [email protected]. We also urge anyone receiving fake solicitations to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling the FTC at: 877-FTC-HELP or online at ftccomplaintassistant.gov(link opens in new window), your state Attorney General consumer protection office, and local law enforcement.
Recent Examples of Reported Scams and Misrepresentations:
August 2021: The American Heart Association has issued a cease and desist letter to a company advertising “keto diet pills” using the Association’s name and logo.. We’ve seen the illegal advertisements as pop-up ad on online games and apps. It is an unauthorized use. The AHA doesn’t recommend supplements or pills for weight loss and never endorses products. Officials at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warn that dietary supplements do not require approval before they are marketed. Officials urge consumers to watch for these warning signs:
- Promises of a quick fix, for example, “lose 10 pounds in one week."
- Use of the words “guaranteed” or “scientific breakthrough."
- Products marketed as herbal alternatives to an FDA-approved drug, or as having effects similar to prescription drugs.
Especially when it comes to diet and weight loss, if it sounds too good to be true - it is. Don’t get scammed.
It has come to the AHA’s attention that someone is posing as Nancy Brown and/or Meighan Girgus and contacting individuals to interview them for jobs. Please be aware that this is a scam. The person or persons are not Ms. Brown or Ms. Girgus, and are attempting to get your private information. In some instances, they may send you a check, asking you to cash the check and wire money back to them. Other times they are asking for personal information such as your social security number. The AHA will not contact anyone requesting personal information like account passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs) or Social Security numbers. Do not provide any personal or financial information to unknown individuals, whether by phone or email. Please see https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-spot-avoid-report-fake-check-scams(link opens in new window).
The AHA routinely contacts applicants by phone and email but NOT by text or instant messaging services. The AHA will only contact candidates that have either applied online or were contacted via email through our LinkedIn Recruiter tool.
If you think you've been a victim of fraud, contact the following authorities:
- The Internet Fraud Complaint Center(link opens in new window)
- Your local Postal Inspector(link opens in new window)
- The Federal Trade Commission(link opens in new window)
Learn more information at the National Internet Fraud Watch Information Center(link opens in new window).
- AHA has become aware of people claiming to be from “the American Heart & Stroke Association” who tried to sell insurance to unsuspecting families. The sales person was very persistent and tried to gain entry to the home to provide “information” about the insurance.
The AHA does not sell or endorse insurance or any similar products. The AHA also does not pressure people into making donations or buying products. Particularly around holidays, potential criminals will try creative ways to get into a person’s home or learn about valuable items in their home. If you are concerned that the person may be legitimately raising funds for AHA, but are uncomfortable meeting with them, giving information over the phone or by email, or allowing them into your home, ask the solicitor to mail the information to you or leave it on your doorstep with a phone number and address where you can contact them later. If someone approaches you selling products that they claim are approved, sponsored or offered by the American Heart Association or American Stroke Association, promptly report them to your local law enforcement.
- Homes across the U.S. are getting automated calls from a company claiming to be American Senior Benefits. The calls urge seniors to get a free medical alert system, “as endorsed by the American Heart Association.” Apparently, after connecting to a live person, consumers learn that the medical alert system requires an ongoing monthly maintenance fee.
The American Heart Association does not endorse products. In addition, we have not confirmed that anyone has ever received the product. There is a legitimate company called American Senior Benefits that is not making these calls. Both the “real” American Senior Benefits company and the American Heart Association have complained to the Federal Trade Commission.
- A number of websites claim to provide online training, including CPR training that is “AHA Compliant” even though the organizations are not American Heart Association-authorized training centers. These sites may claim to offer online training with no skills checks or instant electronic course cards available upon completion of the online training.
The American Heart Association does not approve training courses created by other organizations, does not allow its course completion cards to be given to students who do not complete the skills check portion of American Heart Association training, and there are no “AHA-compliant” training courses or “AHA-certified” professionals conducting training. An organization that has been approved to issue cards with the AHA logo upon successful completion of an AHA training course should display the “Authorized Training Center” logo to help you know they are authorized. You should check with your present or prospective employer about the course completion cards they will accept before paying anyone for training intended to gain or retain your training status.
- We have learned of a website that advertised copies of training course exam questions with the answers for sale. The website turned out to be part of an apparent scheme to steal credit card information. We have reported the site to appropriate authorities. In another situation, people were discovered selling training course completion cards to individuals who had not taken the courses or demonstrated their skills. Several arrests were made after the scheme was reported to local authorities.
The American Heart Association does not sell or permit others to sell the actual examinations used to confirm a student’s completion of CPR, ACLS, PALS or any other training. Anyone who attempts to sell such information — or offer a course completion card for sale to anyone who has not met the training requirements — is probably doing so illegally and attempting to steal your personal or financial information.
- Recently, an employer reported receiving a course completion card that looks like the one below. This fillable PDF card is a form completed on a computer and is not a valid Laerdal or AHA Training Center course completion card.
The American Heart Association's Authorized Training Centers will not send you an electronic course completion card that you fill in online. If you receive one of these, please report it to the AHA right away, along with any information you have about where it came from.