Rash of “Beauty Bandits” may be Due to Economy | Will Surgical Arts

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Michael J. Will, MD, DDS, FACS
Maryland (301) 874-1707

Rash of “Beauty Bandits” may be Due to Economy

A woman dubbed the “Beauty Bandit” who received over $3,000 worth of Botox and dermal fillers in a Fort Lauderdale cosmetic dermatology center and then disappeared after telling staff she had to get cash at a nearby ATM,  was recently arrested.

While this might sound like an oddity, it’s apparently becoming more common. Msnbc.com recently reported on these “cosmetic criminals” who undergo Botox, dermal fillers, and other beauty treatments and then leave without paying. The cosmetic criminals usually use a fake name and information on intake forms, and then spend hours getting a consultation and treatment. When it’s time to pay, they may write a bad check or make a run for it—saying they need to use the restroom or get their checkbook from the car.

Other beauty bandits have been reported in Newport Beach, Calif.; Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Brisbane, Australia and Kenton, England.

According to msnbc.com, some surgeons point to the bad economy as a factor, as well as the perceived “necessity” of cosmetic procedures as the motivation behind these crimes.

Dr. Jon Grazer, a Newport Beach plastic surgeon who was hit by a Botox bandit last year, says that Botox is no longer a luxury. “It’s something people have to have, and if they can’t afford it because of the economy, I think it’s going to push them to get it by whatever means they can.”

Dr. Samir Pancholi, who practices cosmetic surgery and facial plastic surgery in Las Vegas has had it happen several times. “The first time, it was a woman in her 50s who came in and got treatment, then said, ‘My purse is in the car, I’ll go grab it and be right back.’ Then she was gone.”

How are cosmetic centers responding? Some practices hit by criminals are changing their payment rules, such as requiring all new patients to pay upfront.

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