LMC leaders are warning that ‘dozens’ of GPs have had their wallets stolen during consultations and funds later withdrawn from their bank account.
They warn of a racket in which a temporary registered patient steals a GP’s wallet during a consultation, and later phones the practice reception impersonating the fraud investigation team at a bank.
GPs report that they ask questions about unusual or fraudulent activity on the card, ask the GP to confirm personal details and finally ask for the PIN number for the stolen credit card.
The racket has led to one GP losing £2,500 and concerns over the safety of medical records and prescription pads, with GPs considering installing CCTV and locking cabinets in consulting rooms.
Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs said he was aware of ‘dozens’ of examples of this scam being reported in the last two years.
‘Some GPs fall for it – and should report it’ he added.
Dr Rob Howlett, a GP in North Essex lost £2,500 as part of the scam, and said he knew of eight other GPs who had also been robbed, and that some GPs may feel too embarrassed to admit they were taken in by the racket.
He said: ‘The first thing you feel is hurt, you’re shocked you’ve been robbed by one of the patients. They didn’t steal from other patients so it’s clear GPs have been identified as an easy target.’
He added: ‘I thought “Oh God, is there a prescription pad in my desk? Should we put CCTV in the building?” We are thinking about locked cabinets in the room because there are medical records lying around.’