There are three kinds of scams when it comes to medical transcription medical billing and medical coding.
The first come from schools that offer to teach you the skills you need to get started in this field. They promote salary levels that, yes, a few people do make, but most do not.
- Yes, there is demand for trained medical transcriptionists, billers and coders.
- Yes, you can study at home for these jobs.
- Yes, you can work at home with these jobs.
- Yes, it is possible in some cases to get a job straight out of training, working at home. However, these jobs are most readily available to people who have taken high quality training. Many of the schools out there do not prepare you for working at home, and employers know it! They won’t hire you if they don’t believe your education was adequate.
- It may be easier to get a work at home job in these areas if you work in an office first.
The second standard scam is to sell you a “pre-packaged business” in medical billing. They’ll tell you there’s a huge demand for medical billing, that many offices outsource it. However, they are more likely to outsource to large firms than to you, the individual trying to establish a brand new business.
The scammer may send you a package, including a brochure detailing the opportunity, application, samples on disc, contract, disclosure agreement and references. They’ll tell you that for a few thousand dollars they will train you and provide the software and technical support you’ll need to get started.
The final scam comes from so-called employers who offer on the job training. There’s one company that regularly changes names that does this. They tell you that you just need to pay a few hundred dollars for their software, then they will train you. Generally, the problems fall into one of two categories:
- The software is buggy and quite simply will not work.
- The software works, but you never manage to do well enough to get paid. You’ll work for them for free for months.
However, it must be noted that there are legitimate work at home opportunities in these fields, and in any of them it is possible to find your own clients and start your own business. But you’ll have to sell. The other option is to work for one of the big companies. I did medical transcription for Medquist for three years, so I know the jobs are out there.
There are real schools out there. CareerStep is considered quite reputable, and many employers hire from them. Their students work for services or start their own businesses. Of those who start businesses, some succeed and some fail, just as with any other business.
If you’re considering getting an education to work in medical transcription, billing or coding, do yourself a favor. Ask around before choosing a school. Don’t just rely on their references, especially if only a few are given; they could be shills. Contact potential employers even if you plan on starting your own business. Many recruiters have no problem telling people which schools they are willing to hire from and which they consider to be a waste of time and money.
The FTC has charged various medical billing opportunity companies for misrepresenting income potential and not providing appropriate investment information before making the sale. Do your research so you don’t get scammed.
If you are interested in medical transcription, consider how it has changed over the past several years and decide if you feel it is a good career choice. If medical coding is more your thing, check out this information on it.
If You Get Scammed
First, try to clear it up with the company. If they are uncooperative, let them know that you will be contacting officials about the matter. Then do it.
- If you found out about the company on a website, let the site know so that they can take it off their site.
- Contact the Attorney General in your state or the state the company is in.
- Contact the BBB, both your local office and in the company’s state.
- Contact the National Fraud Information Center if this was a “get rich quick” or “easy money” scheme.
- Your local Consumer Protection Offices.
- The Postmaster if you received the offer in the mail.
- The Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has a Complaint Assistant website to help you file your complaint.