Robocall Scams Push Medical Alert Systems

The latest in unwelcome, illegal, prerecorded sales calls are from scammers pitching a safety alert system for older adults.

The callers spoof 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.”

The best response? 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.

Hang Up on Robocalls

Comments

Have received numerous calls from 213-519-5751 which does not sound like a recording but most likely is. I hung up instead of letting it continue and I have not given any personal info but it still calls twice daily. It says this call is regarding your shipment order of medical equipment...I hang up.

The best thing to do is NOT to hang up, but just lay the phone down and let the computer keep on talking until it hangs up. Doing this uses up valuable time that the robo caller won't have to call someone else.

I get dozens of calls a day - have been on the do not call registry for years but the calls have increased this past year per my caller ID. There are no numbers listed to report - just 'out of area'. So how do I stop these irritating calls except to cancel my phone and do without?

For the past two months we have received daily calls showing the following on Caller ID:
V 724 145 509 000 08 (spaces for readability only)
209-676-3148.

We never answer. Crooks are not able to detect voice mail, so they just leave the pitch as a message - including all the instructions to push various buttons. I'd like to push theirs!

Received two of these calls this week from 505-634-5296. Next time I'm going to go ahead and give the live operator a piece of my mind.

The calls never cease - almost daily for months now. When will the FTC close down this scam? How much longer do you need? Looks like the entire nation is impacted. When does this get your priority attention? Please don't tell me sequestration precludes action. DO IT NOW.

Hi, Rich,

Autodialers can send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost -- from anywhere in the world. New technology also hides the true origin of the phone call, so the calls are nearly impossible to trace. If you want more info, please check out the FTC's robocall action plan, which you can find at www.ftc.gov/robocalls.

This sounds like a really good place for inter-agency information sharing between the NSA and the FTC.

The FTC could act as a clearing-house for numbers posted by consumers; the NSA could use all that Meta-Data they've collected to "pin-point" these "thousands" of illegal phone calls.

Hey Big-Gov, do your job.

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way!"

From NJ and received this call today and before. On the do not call list. The number id's as Closter 201-367-1691. Hung up on them but have recording. Blocking them too. To prey on the elderly is just evil.

Dear FTC,

If these calls are illegal, why aren't you shutting them down. I have two phone numbers. I receive between 4-6 of these calls every day on each number. This has been going on for over a month. Surely, you can take some immediate legal action to stop this.

Tried to file a formal complaint about Medic Alert Scam with the FTC and they just sent me to the Do Not Call List which is COMPLETELY worthless and apparently a waste of tax-payers dollars. I am SO TIRED of getting these calls and there seems to be no agency who is willing to do their jobs and stop theses scams. What good is the DNC List? NOTHING!!!!

Hi, Lee,

I understand your frustration. Autodialers can send out thousands of phone calls every minute for an incredibly low cost -- from anywhere in the world. New technology also hides the true origin of the phone call, so the calls are nearly impossible to trace. Nevertheless, the FTC uses Do Not Call complaints to bring cases against organizations that break the rules. To date, 80 of these FTC enforcement actions have been resolved, and in those cases the agency has recovered over $41 million in civil penalties and $33 million in consumer refunds or other recovery.

I have been called by this robo call 2 times a day for over 4 months. I can see that many others have too. Why you do not shut them down is beyond me. You know they are illegal.
Their information is

Name and Address of the owner
Phone number: 209-676-3148

is located in Atwater, California.

Its exchange 676 is managed by T-MOBILE USA, INC..

The number is currently on switch number SKTNCA01X4X (switch is a technical specification for phone hobbyists) .

You should be able to contact T Wireless and turn them in. This FTC Do not call line is a waste of time...it has not done anything to stop this. I have reported them over and over.

Clark county NV is changing it's area code from 702 to 725. The use of the area code for local calls is optional effective 8/3/13 and mandatory May 3, 2014. Is the FTC going to automatically change the existing 702 numbers that are on their Do Not Call registry to the new 725 area code? If not, when can I register my new numbers?

Hi, Robbie,

Here's info from our FAQ page about the Do Not Call Registry.

If the phone companies change the three-digit area code for your home or mobile phone number, you do not have to re-register it with the National Do Not Call Registry. The number with the new area code will be registered for you during the period when both the old and new area codes work.

It should be easy to SHUT OFF the phone line of the scammers to stop their calling me! When they call anyone on the "do not call list" they are breaking the law and that should end their ability to use a phone line to commit a crime. All you have to do is tell their phone company to end their service. Not doing so makes you compliscent in their crime. If you cannot do it, then why are we paying you?

Am in California on the DNC list. A robot call from #909 270-2593 asking me where to deliver a free medical alert arrives every other day on my answering machine. I have been pested by the rug cleaning scam for quite a while and now this one.

Have just reported 980-202-0016 for same scam. I didn't bite but my 98-yr.-old neighbor did. This one struck me as particularly tricky and despicable. RIP to my wealthy uncle who lost literally millions to these criminals. I'm sure the numbers here are only a small sample of numbers being used illegally but I am adding it to the list.

I've learned a lot since calling the FTC, FCC and my atty general. The phone numbers they call from are not their real numbers. They use a tactic called "spoofing" which hides the real numbers from caller ID. This is one reason they're so hard to catch. Try to engage the person on the phone- just don't give out anything important like ss#'s, credit cards, etc. Ask them if they know they are working for a scam company. Give them the number of the FTC and FCC and your state's Atty General's office and ask them to call those offices themselves if they don't believe you. Heck- give them this website address and they can read all about it! The people who are doing the talking are not necessarily the ones who have orchestrated this whole thing. They may think they're working for a legitimate telemarketing company. Since I can't stop their calls, I've resorted to simply keeping them on the phone as long as I can. It's kind of fun to waste their time, if I have the time.

We got our first medic alert scam call today. I am simply amazed in this world of hi-tech, that the FTC is completely unable and powerless to stop these crooks. Trust me, something is radically wrong with what they do and how they go about doing it. They should hire some 15 year olds who are light years beyond current technology.

I was getting that medic alert scam for weeks and then it finally stopped. (I never answer a call unless it's from someone I know.)

I would like you guys to fix the "How Does a Robocall Work?" link: (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/robocalls/infographic.shtm). It is broken and nobody there seems to have noticed.

Thanks.

I just got another one of those freakin' calls. I thought the FTC was doing something about them. This one came on a disconnected number (720-449-3524). Why can't the phone companies filter out anyone running a disconnected number through their caller ID system? I don't think ANYONE is doing ANYTHING about this!

Add 203-693-1099 to the list of bogus numbers these sob's are using. This is a Connecticut area code, so I suspect they simply use your own area code to make themselves look credible. There HAS to be a banking transaction trace for those who bite and get burned. The Feds have no problem following one of these when for some reason they actually give a damn.

Had one yesterday from 6812305881 prerecorded guy name BOB

The FTC is about as helpful as the automated calls that my 80+ year old parents are getting. Nothing but a maze of voice-mail commands that go nowhere. I cannot get through to the FTC, even though my parents are being scammed.
FTC: you are useless!

If the government keeps track of ordinary citizens' calls why don't they also track criminals' calls? Then just tap into that data base and drag them into court. Seems easy enough!

Have you ever heard of RICO!! Get one and hold accountable for all. I have never received a robocall from the Taliban and you have drones for them. Borrow a few drones from DOD!!

I'm signing up for Free Google Voice to get rid of these calls once and for all. Free to boot. Since signing up for phone service with Charter Communications, my number is called 6-10 times a day. All different scams or telemarketing calls. The opt out notice with Charter does no good to have and the DNC Registry is a joke. Google Voice will end this crap. The next time this made up number calls, it will get the disconnected tone. Thanks free GoogleVoice.

Add these #'s to this scam - 734-392-8291 & 810-355-4014. We have contacted our charge card co. - my parent got bit & paid...heard the message & hit 1, thought it was a real person from the beginning - hearing aids not working well. I will be purchasing a call blocker, worth every penny if it saves from cleaning up the mess.

I got a recorded call from Bob several times a day in June and July. I never listened to the message but once I did I found that there was an opt out selection. Once I did that I have not received anymore calls from Bob or anyone else from that company

Got a variant on this call today; this time offering both a free medical alert system AND a certificate for $3,000 in free groceries "for seniors" if I'd just "Press 1" and give them my personal information. Like the commenter above, mine came from 734-392-8291

I get two of these calls every day

I got one of those grocery savings certificates today too. They are changing their tactics. But my number was a local area code for Kansas.

Receiving calls from 734-392-8291 currently pushing med-alert system. I'm on Do Not Call list. Call and report to FTC!

THIS ONE3 HAPPENED TO MYSELF ABOUT A MONTH AGO. I IMMEDIATLY CONTACTEDE THE FTC. BUT I MUST BE HONEST WITH YOU. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SPOOFED BEFORE. BUT THIS ONE ABOUT A CALL ALERT DID IN FACT GET ME. BUT THE FTC GOT MY MONEY BACK. THANK YOU FTC.

I've been having the same problem this week with the alert system spoof. All the calls have similar phone numbers on my caller ID. I called all of them back on my office line and on half of them I get the same automated response that says "press 1 to take you off their call registry". The other half are not valid numbers. I am assuming that since all these numbers track back to the same automated response, then there should be a way to catch these people. This is one of the numbers in which you get an automated response 360-322-6598.

I live in the Pacific time zone. These jokers don't understand that I am 3 hours earlier than they are. I have had many perfectly good hours of sleep shut off by receiving telemarketer calls at 6:00 AM. I am REALLY grouchy at that time and under those circumstances! I realize most telemarketers are just trying to earn a living but I am finding it harder and harder to be "nice".
MedicAlert is a fine business that provides a service by maintaining medical information and IDs that assist first responders and doctors when you are not able to provide that information yourself. The medic alert devices that are being foisted off via telemarketers and robocalls are in no way associated with MedicAlert.
On occasion, I have asked how the telemarketer got my information. The fellow claimed I had done business with them before. OUTRIGHT LIE!
I think I have been called by every pharmaceitical business in the world wanting to supply my diabetic supplies. AAaaaargh! Now, it is calls for back and knee braces or other unspecified devices that Medicare has approved--trying to make it sound like Medicare has given my information to them. HOW IN THE WORLD do they get my information?????
If I could shoot them through the phone, I would!

I just filed my complaint with the FTC after I had received many recorded calls from "John" at CTY (702-705-7302) & "ALERT" (213-710-8660 & 253-236-2375) pushing medical alert devices. Feeling pretty proud of myself for reporting this...until I read all of the above comments:( Hopefully, the FTC might track down "John" or "Bob" or whoever the hell he is before some poor sole falls for this scam! Doesn't sound promising:(

The scam part of this doesn't bother me because I'd never fall victim to it and if everyone else was like me, none of us would have to put up with these calls. I've been getting one of the "personal medical alert system" calls every day, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. for months. It's very maddening to me the our government can't do anything about it. There must be a way to stop scams like this through the cell phone providers. If our government figured out a way to read all our emails, see all of our private info on Facebook and other sites, have the U.S. Postal Service take photos of all of our mail, have police officers scan every license plate their units pass, etc., surely the FTC can stop this intrusion into our daily lives. Because of these calls, I can no longer just pick up my phone and say "hello", I have to listen first, after rushing out of the shower to get to the phone...

Have recieved 2 calls telling me someone bought a system for me. The second call gave me two options, one to have it delivered, two to decline. Said someone else had paid for it. When I kept saying who bought it time and again I realized it was a robocall. I pressed 5 to decline. I hope this stops can't someone put these people where they belong, in jail??

Calls from 702-705-7302 with recorded message as follows:

"Program. To receive three thousand dollars in free groceries saving certificates that can be used at over one hundred major grocery chains across the US. In addition to your three thousand dollars in savings certificates. You will receive a free emergency medical alert bracelet or necklace. This medical alert device is design to save your life if you ever experienced a fall or any other emergency. Press one now to speak to a representative and have your three thousand dollars savings certificate mailed directly to you and learn more about this risk free offer. Again press one now for more information or press five to be removed from this opt in list."

I've been getting the $3,000 freebie call & most times I ignore it because I now recognize a spoofed number when I see it. If it looks like an ordinary phone number & I don't recognize it, I don't answer. If it really is a valid call, that person will leave a real message. Today I got fed up, took the call, and when the unfortunate young woman got on the phone I said, "This is a scam and you should be ashamed to work for them." Then I hung up. I felt bad afterwards, because I have no idea how dire her situation might be without this job. I'll just continue to ignore the calls from now on.

I think FTC needs to use RICO. Make one pay for all the sins. Maybe we should also prosecute the idiots that fall for the scam as they provide incentives for these criminals.

And it is the credit card processing services that allow this to happen.

Fixing this is simple. If I recall, we have a government " by the people, for the people?

Got my calls from 'John' this week - *69 traced the number back to 805-408-4238.
While its cleaver to rustle paperwork to give the illusion of a real person making the offer of a free Medic Alert system, none the less, the act of lying is deplorable.
Shame on Medic Alert too.
May The Fates reward the scammer suitably.

What do you do if one of your parents pressed 1? Does it bill your carrier or what?

Generally, if you or your parent didn't give the caller personal or financial info (like a bank or credit card number), then pushing 1 shouldn't result in charges. Unfortunately, pushing 1 may result in more robocalls. Still, it's a good idea to keep an eye on account statements and phone bills for charges you don't recognize.

Why no prosecution. I get many calls a day. For the first time in my life I screen all calls on caller ID before picking up the phone. Is there no way to block these?

Dec 30 2013. I got a recorded call from Betty. caller id 213-710-8389 Her voice was very upbeat and pleasant and cheerful. She wanted my information so that she could ship me my medical alert system and my free $3000 in grocery savings certificates. She said her records show the system had already been paid for--someone must have been concerned about a fall--all they need is my shipping info--please push 1 to give my shipping informationor push 5 to decline the free system. I did not push any numbers. I hung up. Very irritating to get these calls. I am on the do not call list. I did not respond in any way or give my information. Why can't the FTC shut them down--you could do a sting on them and shut them down via any delivery service.

There is several fraudulent practices going around for canvasing the consumers.I am currently using the emergency medical alarm system from a company called My Alarmcare in Canada.I feels so irritated when the other brand company sales guys calls and pesters me for increasing their sales.Reputed companies should stop such practices.Such calls are really irritating.Rather ..they should increase their product quality to attract more customers .

Thank AARP for selling our contact info to these scam artists, What we need to do is provide them with AARP's office contact info, anyone have there banking account #?

I have heard of many such shocking news.It is better to contact a reputed company if need arises. I am presently using the product from a company called My Alarm Care in Canada.I had researched well before contacting this.

These horrible people call all day everyday. The last straw was getting a call at 4:15AM. It frightened me so, expecting the worse at that hour. I am on the DNC list. Obviously it's worthless.

i made a previous comment about the robocalls medical alert scam and info from the ftc said that recent court cases had confiscated or frozen the funds of the medical alert company. i said that we who are being harassed by theses scam artist should have the names and addresses of these people so we can file personal or class action suits against them and the company they represent.Petition the federal trade commission and the attorney generals office to get this done. perhaps it will make this company and others like them think before harassing us at all hours of the day and night and violating the do not call registry!!!!!!!!!!!

FTC cases and procedings are listed on this page. The court documents are public information and  include the names of the defendants.

It's strange how my home telephone line has been flooded with calls for medical alert systems for the past year or two. If you block their number, you will soon receive a call from a different number for... medical alert systems. Annoying.

They've been calling for a month, and now they are calling at midnight - how can I get rid of them?

Today I received one of these calls from a spoofed number that is not in my area. Caller ID said NY, State of, and the number showed 516-228-3915. I did not answer the phone. I listened to the recording on my answering machine. It said a medical professional had referred me, and I could get $1,000 for items I purchased every week, etc. Same ol' spiel.

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