Medical directory scams targeting doctors' surgeries/clinics

20 June 2008

SCAMwatch is warning doctors' surgeries/clinics to beware of aggressive marketing techniques engaged by some advertising companies offering listings or advertisements in medical directories.

SCAMwatch understands that many doctors' surgeries/clinics have received facsimiles requesting recipients to confirm their contact details.

The advertising company creates the impression that the doctors' surgeries/clinics already have a listing with this company as the facsimiles are commonly titled 'Listing Advice Notice' and 'Renewal Notice'. It also creates the overall impression that you are simply 'verifying' or 'updating' your contact details cost-free.

However, upon signing and returning the form, unsuspecting victims then receive an invoice demanding payment for the provision of the advertising service.

By signing the form, the company claims, via the fine print, that the recipient is agreeing to enter into a contract and to pay a specified fee for the provision of this advertising service. 

Although the supposed 'Listing Advice Notice' and 'Renewal Notice' are not invoices, doctors and staff need to be cautious when receiving any request to sign documents. Always read the entire document, especially any fine print, before signing.

Directory entry scams or unauthorised advertising scams are common. The purpose of these scams is to bill unsuspecting recipients for the provision of a listing or advertisement by using creative and deceiving methods.

An example of a directory scam is featured on SCAMwatch's new see-a-scam page.

See-a-scam includes a range of real scams and example scams so you can see what scams look like, how they work and how to avoid them.

The see-a-scam examples feature annotated notes so you can see the tricks scammers use. The annotated directory scam example will help you to spot the warning signs and reduce the likelihood of you becoming a victim.

Stay one step ahead of the scammers. Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about scams.

To report a suspected scam, visit the report a scam page.

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