The medical alert system scam is a telemarketing scam that promises a 'free' medical alert system, that usually scam targets seniors and caretakers. The robocalls claim to be offering medical alert devices and system free of charge, because a family member or friend had "already paid for it".
How does the medical alert system scam work
The callers spoof (fake) a phone number so it looks like a local call on caller ID. If you pick up, you'll hear a message saying you're eligible for an alert system, or system upgrade, or that someone bought a system for you. The message asks you to 'press one' on your phone to talk to a live operator, who will quickly ask for a bank account, credit card, or Medicare number, and maybe an address, to 'expedite shipping and handling.'
In many cases, seniors were asked to provide their bank account or credit information to 'verify' their identity and, as a result, were charged the monthly $35 service fee. The system, of course, never arrived and the seniors were left with a charge they had trouble getting refunded. Be wary of any 'free' offers that require your personal information upfront, especially your credit card or Social Security number and always verify with the supposed friend or family member that the caller says paid for the service.
What to do
Don't press a number, and don't speak to a live operator. People who gave their information have seen monthly charges of $35 and up for that 'free' system. If you get a call with a recorded sales message and you haven't given the company your written permission to call, the call is illegal. Since the call itself is illegal, you can bet the offer is a scam. If you gave information to one of these callers, check your account statements. If you find unexpected charges, ask your bank or credit card company to remove them.
Finally, contact the FTC online or at 1-888-382-1222 to report your experience.
And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive. We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!