"Hello this is pharmacist. You got drugs for me?"
This story did not happen directly to me. I heard it from a colleague.
Patient was called randomly by someone claiming to be a pharmacist and offering to pick up any medications for disposal.
Patient was suspicious of the call. Patient is very familiar with all staff at the pharmacy and called the pharmacy. The pharmacy was not the caller. Pharmacy advised patient to contact the police. Patient called police.
There have been increasing media reports of scammers posing as various organizations (mostly Canada Revenue Agency) in an effort to scam victims out of their money.
However, this story is especially worrisome for many reasons:
1) Presumably, if the patient fell for the scam, the scammer would go physically to the address to pick up the meds (or send a driver)
2) Scammer would then know the victim's address, plus also details of their living arrangements (e.g. number of other occupants)
3) Scammer could steal more than the victim's medications
This may be happening to many of your patients now
Feel free to pass along these 5 tips to your patients:
1) Even if a caller knows your name, it does not mean they know YOU (names and phone numbers are more publicly searchable than ever before)
2) It is not common practice for pharmacies to call patients for medication disposal
3) One scenario where you WILL be asked about unused meds for disposal is during your one-to-one meeting with your Pharmacist where they will review all of your medications with you. This medication review is by appointment-only and would not be a surprise visit
4) If you get a suspicious call, keep a note of the phone number
5) Your pharmacy and local police are your best resources in case of suspicious activity