Jun 25, 2013

Bogus Medical Alert System Robo-Calls Target Seniors

DAYTON - Seniors across the Miami Valley are being targeted by robo-callers offering free medical alert systems. One BBB staffer’s family has received three calls in two weeks. The robo-calls take advantage of a famous brand name, “MedicAlert.” At first, the call seems to be from a very friendly, conversational gentleman. But, as the call continues, recipients realize it’s a recording. The call claims everything is paid for and the call is to confirm shipping instruction. The callers say those they are calling have been recommended for the product by a family friend or relative. They’re encouraged to press a button to accept the offer.

It’s reported after a consumer presses a button to accept the offer, they quickly receive another call asking for personal information, including credit card numbers. Consumers have reported several different options with these phone calls. In some instances, the pre-recorded voice asks the consumer to press 1 to accept, in other cases to press 5. Consumers in other parts of the country have reported receiving calls from customer service representatives that give the same offer, but they hang-up the phone when questioned on its validity. No matter what option’s offered, hang-up the phone.

Some BBBs claim this company says it’s associated with the American Heart Association or American Senior Benefits, but it isn’t connected to these organizations. Some consumers told the BBB they have accepted the free monitoring system only to find out later they’ve been registered into a service with fees up to $400 a year.

A Miamisburg man says when he answered the call, it was a recording from a man claiming to be named John saying the call recipient had a Medic Alert-style home monitoring system that’s “pre-paid and scheduled for delivery.” The Miamisburg man said, “The message is designed to convince you that you ordered it, you just have to schedule the delivery...It is obviously a scam to prey on helpless seniors...”

John North, president and CEO of your BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley, says, “These calls are misleading and leave people vulnerable to identity theft. Never give out personal information to unfamiliar companies calling you out of the blue. If an offer sounds too good to be true, hang up the phone. If you’re interested in pursuing the offer, do your homework and check out the business making the offer. One way to do so is by contacting your Better Business Bureau. You can check out businesses by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.”


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