With more and more people signing up to online doctors and medical services in the wake of the pandemic, it’s important to be aware of the scams out there and to know how to avoid getting entangled in one. Use the guide below to steer clear of scammers and ensure that the service you sign up for is legit.
Check Their Credentials
First things first: make sure that the online doctor you’re considering is fully licensed and regulated. This is easy to do: visit the provider’s website, and have a look for this information there; otherwise, you could always get in contact and ask the provider for these details via telephone call or email. Once you’ve got this information, get in touch with the relevant licensing body to verify their authenticity and satisfy yourself that the doctor is properly regulated and trained.
Any reputable doctor will not have an issue with providing you with these details should they be requested.
Have a Look at the Range of Services Offered
A legit online doctor will usually provide a wide range of services, as well as having the facility to refer patients on and to write prescriptions as needed. Have a look at the potential providers’ website to view the nature of the conditions and illnesses that they deal with: here is an example of the level of treatment you can expect from a reputable medical service. Check, too, how charges are levied and whether any existing medical insurance cover you have is compatible. You may also wish to ask about any additional fees that may be payable for weekend or evening appointments.
Satisfy yourself regarding the quality of the customer services provision, as this can be another important clue in ascertaining whether or not the option you’re looking at is legit. A professional online doctor will offer comprehensive customer support that’s easily accessible both in and out of hours.
Go Through Patient Reviews
Review sites can be one of the most useful tools in assuring yourself that a particular online medical is not a fake or a fraud. Check carefully and across a number of different review sites, to get a really clear idea about the experiences that past and current patients have had with the provider you’re considering.
It’s worth spending some time undertaking this research and only choosing to sign up for a service that is consistently highly rated.
Watch Out For Scam Sites
There are some simple steps you can take to make sure that a website isn’t fake or a scam platform. Firstly, pay careful attention to the domain name in the address bar. Some fake sites use a name that is extremely close to that of a well-known, legitimate brand or business, so watch out for this. Look out for the padlock symbol in the address bar, too, which tells you that the site is encrypted, and browsing and payments will be kept private and secure.
Next, go through some of the pages and text content on the site. Typos, poor or inaccurate use of language, or links that don’t work are all warning signs that the site, and the service it is advertising, aren’t legit and should be avoided.
Beware of Fake Covid Tests
There have been several incidents of fake covid tests finding their way into public circulation, as reported by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in the US recently. It’s easy to protect against this scam, however. Firstly, check that the test you have been sent appears on the list of approved tests available from the FDA. It’s also important to be wary of any site selling tests at a reduced cost (or even free of charge) that also require you to provide personal information but won’t guarantee an appointment time.
Avoid Health Insurance Scams
Health insurance scammers can use sophisticated means to steal your money, but there are warning signs to be mindful of to help you avoid the pitfalls of this fraudulent practice. Overly aggressive representatives piling on the pressure for you to make a quick decision is a red flag. Walk away from a situation where you feel you are being pushed into something that you’re not sure of or suspect may not be in your best interests.
Watch out for insurance companies that seem to have a less rigorous process when it comes to the offering of a policy and for those that promise you a discounted price if you sign up right away. And if you have any doubts, check their credentials; all insurance providers must be licensed in the states where they do business.
Trust Your Instincts
With scammers finding new ways all the time to try to con us out of our hard-earned money, it’s important to always be vigilant to prevent falling victim to fraud. Research carefully before signing up for any type of medical service or insurance, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for verification if required. Lastly, trust your instincts; if an offer seems too good to be true or anything makes you feel uneasy, walk away, and find another option.