One case recently in the news was a woman, nicknamed 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 saying she had to get cash at an ATM.
The suspect was arrested recently and is just one in a line of “cosmetic criminals” who undergo beauty treatments and then leave without paying, according to msnbc.com. Others such crimes have been reported in Newport Beach, Calif.; Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; Brisbane, Australia and Kenton, England.
A spokesman for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Jeff Karzen, says that from talking with their doctors, it’s a problem that’s occurring from coast to coast.
Some surgeons speculate it’s the bad economy and the perceived “necessity” of procedures like Botox that are the motivating factors behind these crimes.
“Botox is no longer a luxury,” says Dr. Jon Grazer, a Newport Beach plastic surgeon who was hit by a beauty bandit last year. “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.”
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Samir Pancholi says that it’s happened three times at his cosmetic surgery practice in Las Vegas. He recounts: “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.”
These “beauty bandits” have forced some cosmetic centers to change payment rules—one now requires all new patients pre-pay.