The most serious of these cases though comes in the form of extortion. “In a few situations, patients threatened to post negative comments and ratings about our practice on social and forum websites if we did not refund their money once their procedure was completed”, explained Dr. Simoni.
One con artist requested $100,000 or she threatened to ruin Dr. Simoni’s reputation online. Soon finding out they were not the only victim of her scam (she has done this to handful of other plastic surgeons) they were quick to turn her down, and in no time hundreds of negative posts against Dr. Simoni were scattered throughout the Internet. Thus resulting in potential patients -who were not aware of this type of deception- seeing and believing the postings and then canceling their procedures.
These scam artists know these facts and use it to their advantage.
To make matters worse, some websites are taking part in this online fraud themselves and requesting exuberant amounts of money from plastic surgeons to remove these fake posts. Websites like ripoffreport.com and pissedconsumer.com are at the forefront of these extortion schemes. These websites invite negative comments and block positive ones to force plastic surgeons in to paying them kickbacks.
Online extortion has become an important expenditure for many plastic surgeons. These con men target top plastic surgeons to better ensure their paybacks. Many assume that plastic surgeons make enough money –“so who cares”. But in reality, once these unnecessary expenses occur, plastic surgeons have more difficulty easening up on their fees to try to help their patients in this tough economy. So once again, ultimately, the honest people are the one who get hurt, patient and their doctor alike.
Many say that a tough economy brings out the worst in people, but in terms of plastic surgery offices it’s bringing the worst people IN.