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Doctors React To Cosmetic Crime Wave

In a string of several unrelated incidents, doctors in cities across the U.S., including Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas and Newport Beach, report being ripped off by con-artists with expensive good looks.

Criminals targeting doctors’ offices and dubbed “Beauty Bandits” by popular media have made-over the old dine-and-dash routine and use it to steal thousands worth of cosmetic services from physicians.

These so-called bandits fill out new patient intake forms at doctors’ offices, giving fake names and phony contact information, then receive cosmetic treatments for facial rejuvenation and lip augmentation with injectables.

Treatment with a single injectable typically costs only a few hundred dollars in a single session, however cosmetic crooks often seek comprehensive treatment with a combination of injectables, such as Botox, Dysport, Juvederm, Radiesse and others.

After treatment is complete, “Beauty Bandits” claim they need to withdraw cash from an ATM, retrieve their purse from the car or check on a waiting child, then take off without paying their bill. More subtle forms of fraud are also used by patients who want a free ride, such as writing bad checks knowing there are insufficient funds to cover the cost of treatment.

“I’ve had it occur,” said Dallas plastic surgeon Dr. Rod Rohrich, Chairman of Plastic Surgery Department at UT Southwestern. “It’s mostly in patients I’ve never seen before. The best way [to prevent it] is to have all new patients pre-pay. In this way, we prevent the ‘runners,’ as we call them in Texas.”

Preventative approaches to this problem of bold theft and resulting revenue loss are catching on among physicians who offer cosmetic services, as greater numbers have begun asking that patients pre-pay for services using cash or a credit or debit card.

With upfront payment, not only can doctors protect their businesses, they can also devote their full attention to performing cosmetic procedures without being distracted by a nagging fear of being defrauded and foster a doctor-patient relationship built on trust, so don’t be offended if your first visit starts with a transaction.

Getting the business out of the way will allow you to relax and even enjoy working with your doctor to improve your appearance.

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