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Ads for medical billing business opportunities appear on the Internet and in the classified
sections of local newspapers and "giveaway" shopper's guides. In the "Help-Wanted"
classified sections, the ads may appear next to legitimate ads for hospital medical claims
processors, leading consumers who respond to think they're applying for a job, not buying
a business opportunity.


The ads lure consumers with promises of substantial income working from home full- or
part-time - "no experience required." They direct consumers to call a toll-free number for
more information.


If you call, a sales representative will entice you to sign up by telling you that the
processing of medical claims is a lucrative business, that doctors are eager for help with
electronic claims processing, and that you - even without any experience - can do this
work from the comfort of your home.


Medical billing scammers charge a fee of $300 to $500. In exchange, they claim to provide
everything you supposedly need to launch your medical billing business: the software
program to process the claims and a list of potential clients.


But the reality is that few consumers who pay for medical billing opportunities find clients
or make any money, let alone earn the promised substantial income. Competition in the
medical billing market is fierce, especially for those who are new to it. Many doctors'
offices process their own medical claims. Doctors who contract out their medical billing
often use established firms, not individuals working from home.


Promoters of fraudulent medical billing opportunities are not interested in helping
consumers, either. They only want their money. Many times, the client lists they provide
are based on out-of-date databases of doctors who haven't asked for medical billing
services. The software they send may not work or may not have been properly authorized
and so is useless. And the money-back "guarantees" often prove worthless. Even after
making repeated calls to the promoter or complaining to their credit card companies,
government agencies or consumer groups, only a few people actually get refunds.