There’s a new phishing email making the rounds that your firm needs to be aware of if you deal with protected health information (PHI) in any way and are subject to HIPAA rules and regulations.

The email is quite good, appearing for all intents and purposes to be an official communication from the Department of Health and Human Services, signed by its Directory, Joycelyn Samuels.

There’s a surprising twist to this story, though. The email was not sent by hackers, but by a private company.

The text of the email indicates that the recipient has (possibly) been included in a HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification audit program currently underway by the OCR. In other words, it looks legitimate, and sounds just dire enough to prompt a click.

If you click the link contained in the email, however, rather than being taken to a government website, you’re taken to a company website, where you’re prompted to do business with them to ensure your compliance with all applicable HIPAA regulations.
It’s an underhanded tactic, taken right out of the hackers’ playbook, and the Department of Health and Human Services is not amused.

Director Samuels has released a formal statement, saying that the matter is currently under investigation, and because of that, has declined to name the company responsible for sending out the emails. She stressed that any official communication from her department regarding audits would be sent from If you don’t see that email address, it’s not an official communication.

Navigating the maze of HIPAA rules and regulations can be difficult enough without companies resorting to hacker tactics to try to get your business.

If you have any questions or concerns about your company’s compliance, we’d be happy to assist. Give us a call and a member of our knowledgeable team will work with you to access your current compliance status, and create a strategy that will ensure you don’t run afoul of Director Samuels or her department.