It is the age of the entrepreneur. And unfortunately with that comes a whole group of “entrepreneurs” whose bright idea it is to take advantage of gullible parties trying to start their own businesses. The field of medical billing is no exception. An industry that is has seen rapid growth, is turning more and more to the digital world for increased efficiency and convenience, and is becoming a popular choice as a freelance or home-based money making option, medical billing is a target for scammers of all shapes and sizes. These individuals seek to capitalize on the desire of entrepreneurial minded individuals to “make it” in medical billing. And to this end they will lure people in with bright promises of quick wealth with little effort. The following are some the main characteristic of these scammers.
Online medical billing start-your-own business scams promise fast and easy set up of a medical billing business. They will often offer, for from few hundred dollars up to literally thousands, to furnish you with all the information you need to set up your own business, and to do a fair amount of the leg work for you. They will often tell you that:
- You do not need to get educated as a medical biller/coder because the field has so much demand.
- They will set you up, as part of the package, with the software you need to do medical billing easily from home.
- That a list of contacts is provided with the program which you can immediately begin marketing your business to and who are likely to use your services.
- They may offer to do some of the actual administrative or billing work for you at reduced rates for being a customer.
Besides these common denominators, there are some specific tactics and tell tale signs to watch out for.
Scammers will usually advertise in classified advertising such as that in your local newspaper, on ad sites like Craigslist, or through spam email. They will usually have a 1-800 number, and if you call it you will get a salesperson who will try to convince you any way they can to buy the package.
They will often include enticing sounding information about working only a certain minimal number of hours per week and making 5 to 700 dollars. Be real, there is no way a company could even know exactly how much you would make in online medical billing in a given number of hours. That depends on too many different factors pertinent to your individual situation.
Scammers will sometimes offer to provide you with billing software which does seem to be state of the art, but which is actually some kind of bare bones or outdated version of the software that you won’t be able to use with the business. A simple way to avoid this is just to make sure any software you buy comes from the actually software company that markets it and is the latest version.
The reality of the situation is that trying to take a quick route, especially in the online medical billing business, is a bad approach and will blow up in your face in short order. The leads that these companies provide you with are usually culled from lists of doctors that don’t even need billing services, software is outdated or outright junk, and there is no real value offered in return for the hundreds or thousands you’re being asked to spend.
If you want to set up your own online medical billing business, all the tools you need are there for the taking. You can enroll in time effective and not very expensive courses that tell you all the aspects of the business either at colleges or online or can even educate yourself with books. You can purchase your own software, and the only way to find clients is to simply market your services in a convincing way to them.
You DO need to be educated. While it’s not exactly rocket science, this is a complicated type of job with a lot of technical detail, terminology, procedural understanding, and so on. You’re not going to get all that just by handing somebody a wad of cash. As is the case with most “opportunities” offered in the business world, the opportunity is there without some kind of intermediary offering it to you on a silver platter. In fact the latter are not so much opportunities as traps, so steer clear of them.
If you have been unlucky enough to have been victimized by online medical billing business scams, there are a few things you can do:
First of all try to cancel your membership with the scam company and ask for a refund. Often to avoid still costlier legal action these companies will refund your money.
If you can’t work anything out with the company itself you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Either 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or visit FTC.
You can also call any or all the following organizations: The Better Business Bureau the Attorney General in your state, the Postmaster General – they investigate mail fraud, the newspaper or online site that ran the ad. The publication itself may be able to either help you or simply will stop running the ad to prevent more people from getting taken advantage of.
With a little vigilance on your part avoiding scams is very easy. Chances are if you’re even somewhat informed about the online medical billing industry, scams are not even much of a problem for you anyway. If however you’re a gullible beginner and have stumbled on to this article, that’s good luck. Now you know the facts – online medical billing is a lucrative business, but not one that you need some questionable third party to facilitate for you. It’s something you get into yourself by getting educated, working hard, and by learning first hand what it’s all about. Keep that in mind and you won’t go wrong.