The Federation of American Hospitals and American Hospital Association warned their members last week of a possible scam that reminds Outliers of a bit from the late, great sitcom “Seinfeld.”
An affiliate member of the federation received a $650 invoice for annual dues from the National Association of American Hospitals, according to the warning that the federation e-mailed and Jeff Micklos, the federation's executive vice president and general counsel. The check was to be addressed to “FAH Association” at a post office box in South Easton, Mass. To make the invoice look valid, it even contained a tax identification number, Micklos says.
The federation notified the local post office that covers South Easton and the Internal Revenue Service, and then decided that its members should be notified, too, Micklos says. So far, the federation has received no other reports of fake invoices, Micklos adds.
Likewise the AHA sent out a “potential fraud alert” to member in its AHA NewsNow daily e-newsletter asking members who received such an invoice to contact the AHA and the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
The National Association of American hospitals doesn't exist, but the name sounds plausible, and that is where the “Seinfeld” connection clicked for Outliers. In a 1997 episode of the famous comedy about nothing, cheapskate George Costanza “gives” his co-workers Christmas cards telling them that a donation has been made in their name to the Human Fund, a charity Costanza made up. Its slogan? “Money for people.”
Costanza was on to something, with the name at least: Eight years after the episode aired, a Cleveland charity that supports arts education programs for underserved youth adopted the name.