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Robocall Scams Push Medical Alert Systems

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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

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.

That is the exact same call I've received multiple times a week for months now. I ALWAYS press 5 to remove from the list. They still keep calling. I've finally submitted a complaint online today at the Do Not Call List.

I also took the time to press 1 and listen to "most" of the speech. The young lady "Maya" just starting reading her script, cleared her throat, and kept on reading. At one point early in the call there was a beep tone on the line - an indication that the call was being recorded. I listened for a bit and then I tried to ask a question - it seemed like she couldn't hear me. So I spoke up louder - again, no response. Tried a third time and then hung up. This scam is alive and well in California.

Yep. Don't bother pushing the removal number -- you already requested not being called by being on the Do Not Call list. And, don't bother hanging up; I hit "1" to maximize the amount of their time I waste -- they waste my time, I waste theirs. Just make sure not to give them any info! Just set the phone down... or pretend you're getting your card... or (if they falsely claim they mailed you some junk) ask them about the mail... or try to point out to the telemarketer that the place they work at is illegal (my mom did this to several, they somehow thought the place they worked at was legit -- but unfortunately didn't give any info ABOUT the place to track it down and receover monetary damages from it.) If 1 out of 1000 did this, they would not have enough operators to make this profitable and would have to stop.

Great suggestion. The best tactic would be to totally waste their time in any way possible.

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'm not a member of AARP and I am getting these calls. Unfortunately, being a senior requires us to give our information to many places. Then, that info is hacked somehow and we are in the loop.

But I bet you get mail from AARP soliciting you to join! I just started getting this mail, and I am 49. I also just started getting these calls from everywhere in the US. "Hello Seniors..." It's annoying as hell. And I do think it has something to do with the AARP's mailing list.

Actually it is most likely the US government that gave this information out - their records on senior citizens for Medicare - bet they are selling the mailing lists to companies.

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.

While it's nice to see the FTC is actually working and filing cases against scammers, I am not sure how you think the list you posted is remotely helpful. Today my call from "Hello Seniors" was supposedly selling "Endless Med Alert" alarms. I don't see that name on the list and I delved 25 pages into it. Chances are, after speaking with the caller who gave me that name, that isn't really the actual name after all. By the way, the "deal" is as follows: You receive $400 worth of equipment free. You may a monthly monitoring fee of $29.95. No contracts. They also give you a $50 restaurant gift card every month. When I asked her how they can afford to do that, she was taken off guard and could not come up with a reasonable answer other than to state that it was a restaurant.com gift card and they had a "contract" with them. SCAM!

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.

Exactly! I use my Verizon phone service to block the calls and then they start calling from another number! It is an outrage that we can't do anything to stop these calls.

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.

I SUGGEST YOU DO PRESS THE BUTTON, TALK TO A SCAM
OPERATOR AND TELL THEM WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH THEIR
SCAM-IT WORKS FOR ME-IF WE START AN AGGRAVATION
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THESE VARIOUS CROOKS IT WILL TAKE THEIR TIME AND WEAR THEM DOWN IF ENOUGH PEOPLE DO THIS

FTC's advice is to hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator and don't press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

Receiving calls everyday from 'Rachel', etc. Medic-alert type calls just started a couple weeks ago. I called and added myself again to DNC list and left complaint w/FCC for what it's worth. Have tried everything in dealing with this 'scum' ; pressing 1 and leaving the land line off the hook for 5 minutes, talking to the person and totally be-rating them as a worthless human being, etc.etc. Pressing 9 does absolutely nothing.

I just received a call from the same senior alert scam company today coming from 5412571402. I reported the call as a Do Not Call List violation to the FTC.

I have gotten this cally caller o d said from 5184179720 New York

Getting the same call daily for months now--the one with the hearty "Hello Seniors!!" and it's free since you've been referred and we'll throw in $1,000 to boot. I've pressed 9 with no result, ususlly just hang up. I HATE THIS!! C'mon FTC: these calls are so pervasive you should be able to shut them down. If you can't, maybe we should shut you down.

They're at it again. I looked at the forum and people are complaining. I wish they would shut these people down. They use different NY numbers so it's impossible to block the calls.

I block several area codes, for instance, 2??-???-???? using the Phone Tray application. Another blocking option is the Panasonic DECT 6 phone, which can block about 285 numbers. We're left to fight the scum on our own. This will only end when people stop answering these calls.

I get many calls like these. I turn on my fax machine and it answers on three rings. This gives me time to answer if I know the caller. It only takes a few calls and they stop calling. Works better than the DNC system.

i got a call from "medical alert" and they used the same number that card holder services used. i bet you a million dollars that if you shut down medical alert scam then card holder services would follow suit. i have a good feeling they are the same company. the rep i spoke with from "medical alert" said they were the same company.

Soooo tired of this!! If the NSA can track everybody's phone calls and e-mails, how come they can't find a handful of robo dialers?

" Mark | July 17, 2014
Soooo tired of this!! If the NSA can track everybody's phone calls and e-mails, how come they can't find a handful of robo dialers?"

THANK YOU MARK!

Maybe somebody at the FTC can answer your question.....

I get calls from them at least once a day, always from a local spoofed number. We've had it come up as private, residential and business numbers, today's being a bank. We're on the DNC, but this is a new-ish number and we're still putting a stop to calls for the previous owner so we never know if a call is legitimate not until we pick up. Six months of this is ridiculous. They should be fined and shut down ASAP.

These people called today using a local telephone number 434-286-2861 at 12:03 PM.
It was some company offering free medical alert system. It was pre-recorded and then I pushed #1 and some guy came on sounding professional and polite and apologized sounding legitimate. But I told him what had happened and that I would be contacting the FCC, which I will do. The FTC and the FCC should crack down on these people and lock them up there is technology that can catch these people. Why our government does not is beyond me. If they are not shut down then somebody at the FTC or FCC should be FIRED IMMEDIATELY!

Connect a fax machine to your phone line. Inform friends and family what you are doing. Let it stay connected for a week or two.. Once a robo-dialer gets a fax tone, the number is automatically removed from the call list. Tell friends and family to call.. let the fax answer, hang up and call back as a code that it's them. If you don't have a fax you can get one at goodwill for 5 to 10 dollars.. worked for me and definitely worth it..

So, arrest them! Make the penalty something that actually deters the illegal activity! Then catch them and arrest them. If the government can spy on its ordinary, law-abiding citizens, it ought to be able to find, catch, prosecute, and convict criminals!

The calls from "Rachel from Card Holder Services" fell off recently, but here's possibly why--my husband turned 65 last week, and now we got our first "Free Medic Alert for Seniors 65+ & $3,000 in Coupons" call. Unless we recognize the caller, we usually let the ans. machine screen our calls when we're home. Because I answered the phone this one time & listened for a few secs before hanging up, I suspect they will keep calling,but it will go to voice mail from now on. The Do Not Call List is virtually worthless.

Moved to Senior Park 3 months ago, and have been constantly getting the same damn phone call. Numbers are different but caller ID always says Urgent. I have filed complaints are the do not call list all to no avail. Please shut these people down FTC

The reason robocalls exist are
1) Lack of preventative controls by the telephone companies and FCC
2) Lack of enforcement of laws
3) Robocallers are incentivized by CNAM Dip fee payments to make calls to U.S. numbers

This is what happens when complaints of "Regulation! Regulation!" are adhered to.
The company is probably owned by a wealthy individual. We all know that wealthy individuals do not go to jail, they just "settle, without admitting wrongdoing."

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