As your dedicated Business Coach, I always have my ear to the ground to find out what is going on and which information you should be made aware of. This week more scams came onto my radar! So I want to share what I have found out so that you can protect yourself and your bank balance from some very crafty fraudsters.
The Pharmacy Paper Bag Scams
This is one I’ve heard of a few times. Someone calls you from a fake printers and explains that you can advertise on a local Pharmacist’s prescription bags. The tend to be rather pushy and keen to get you signed up but beware! Typically, there is no such printer or at least the caller is not from this company. Surprisingly, even though you sign up, you don’t seem to be getting any new patients from the local Pharmacy…
The Doctor’s Appointment Card Scams
In the same way, an approach will be made supposedly from a local printers who want you to commit to advertising on local GP’s appointment cards. Multiple calls may be made to press you into committing to these adverts. It seems like a great idea eh? It’s local, it’s targeting people who are probably ideal new patients too. You pay the money and weeks later you call the Doctors’ Surgery to find out when the cards will be delivered only to discover they know nothing about it…
The Neighbourhood Watch Magazine Scams
This is one which fortunately a Client came to me for advice on. I fear she would have been the subject of a major scam otherwise. As usual the caller was pushy and called several times, keeping the pressure up. Saying that he was part of the local police force and that he had got her number from the local authority, he quickly attempted to sound reassuringly legitimate.
He used scarcity and urgency tactics to get her to agree to an advert in the local Neighbourhood Watch Magazine. It seemed like a fairly good prospect for £200 investment and besides, she really wanted to get her patient numbers up. She was told that the offer would be limited to only one local Osteopath and so she felt the pressure to sign up before another one got the spot! She asked for a website which was eventually given. She also asked about the contract and was told the phone call would be recorded, making that a binding verbal contract. All they needed were her credit card details and the deal was done…
What’s really going on?
What these scams are all about is getting their hands on your credit or bank card details. I do know that some Osteopaths have been so convinced of the offer being made that they have lost several hundred pounds. Remember they may say there is a verbal contract, they may send you to a website, they may promise you the world BUT what they are really doing is getting your credit card number, expiry date, numbers from your postcode and most importantly the three digit security code from the back of your card. And that’s it – a licence to print money! They may tell you that it’s only £200 but in reality when they pop your card into a card reader, they can put £2,000 if they wish. And if your bank account has a healthy balance then they will literally swipe it all!
How do you protect yourself from scams?
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Listen well to your gut which will probably be screaming at you. If they send you to a website does it ACTUALLY tie up with what they’re saying? The link given to the lady in the magazine scam did lead to a police website but it was unrelated to the things they were talking about. So it was a red herring. Do your research from your end back to them. Does it add up?
Ring the local Doctor or Pharmacist and check that he is indeed looking for a suitable partner to sponsor his cards or bags.
In the magazine case, I smelled a rat, so I contacted a local mate who’s a police inspector and active in the community. He had also never heard of such magazines which set my alarm bells into overdrive! Thankfully my young friend had the foresight to run the idea past me and her money is still safe. Indeed we’re working together to build her patient list in a sustainable, cost effective and strategic manner. I can’t wait to watch her fly!
The Drug Rehab Centre Scam
If anything, this one is worse because rather than preying on your for your money, it is preying on vulnerable people with drug or addiction issues. Here’s the letter which Matt Devenport shared on Facebook and which I am sharing here so that you can see what they’re saying.
Matt posted, “Just had this letter arrive through the post from Narconon, an alleged rehab and treatment centre that has just opened a centre in East Sussex.
Narconon are a front for the Church of Scientology which, and it should go without saying, are a nasty group. They prey on vulnerable people to indoctrinate and brainwash into their cult so if you have any patients in need of drug rehab services then please please please AVOID NARCONON”
Be careful where you invest your money!
So if you have been the victim of a scam or were nearly duped, please do add a comment and share your experience so that more of us are aware of the cons which might put other Osteopaths at risk of losing their hard earned money.
I’m not generally an advocate of advertising anyway. Sometimes, if it is targeted very carefully to the exact people you want to attract it may well be worthwhile. For instance if you want to attract more senior patients, then a very specifically worded advert in the local church magazine may work perfectly for you.
Otherwise, nothing beats some good old marketing strategies which build relationships with the very people you want to treat. This is exactly how I have gone from start up with no Clients over two years ago to a thriving business with Clients around the globe. I now have a toolkit of great strategies which are proven to work!
Once you know what you’re doing, you simply rinse and repeat and watch those patient numbers grow organically and with that your reputation as an invaluable Osteopath in your community also grows.
If you’d like to learn some strategies for easily building your patient list in your community, why not join us in the Osteobiz High Viz online course?
It’s a four week Summer Bootcamp geared to marketing without social media and we’re already making great progress.
I would love to welcome you into our international group!