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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

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."

I agree with Jane Auditor. There is no concern on the part of government and Congress to enforce a law that would actually benefit the citizenry. They don't enforce our borders, why would they enforce the DNC list? But laws that most don't consider important are zealously enforced.

I am receiving the $3k medic alert call for seniors over 65 and I am in my 30's. They call 3 times a day every day. I suspect they are targeting my parents who passed away 10 years ago. I have found my revenge. If I am not busy, I am actually talking to these swine human beings, and being Irish I can talk forever. Their autodialing is of course nearly costless, but the human beings they employ to take down my personal information are not. I have also given them a card number that has been closed for fraud that is actually being investigated by the FBI. I kept the Microsoft Help Desk line which pretends to be from Washington but is truly in India on the phone for 40 minutes without letting them access my computer or giving them a credit card number. Until then, they called every few days; they have not called since.

Have had an increase in robo-calls in the past weeks........5-8 times a day. Sorry to say that when legitimate calls come in whether from charities or others, I tell them that I no longer trust anyone soliciting for anything by phone and only accommodate family and friends on it. I also tell them that the tele-scammers have ruined it for them and it's up to their charity/company to fight to remove 'Rachel' and the Medic-alert neophytes.

1130 am and 1253 pm today. "Free grocery coupons" / Medical alert system..
Numbers:
212.662.5932
516.435.1935

THEY CALL NON-STOP!!!!!!!!!!!
WTF IS GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?

I am recieving calls daily from local numbers in my small town.Today I got one from my OWN phone number,with my name on the caller ID.I am furious! I tried to put it in the do not call site as I always do.Of course it would not take it.So mad!!@!@

We have received many of the "Hello seniors!!" robocalls.

Someone earlier said (correctly) that just answering the phone, then laying it down for a while to keep their line tied up, may be a fairly good solution.

However, I finally realized there is at least one more thing I can do. It costs about a $1.50 each time, just FYI.

I hang up . . . wait just a few seconds for line to clear . . . then pick up phone and get dial tone . . . and then press *67

That reports them to some entity in the Federal government.

If a lot of separate individuals would pay the $1.50 per call, that Federal gov't system would begin to pay attention and get rid of the robocaller.

About the calls which call about Microsoft (in thick Indian accent) --

we have not received another call from them since I told the (live) person that I didn't believe a word she was saying. And then I hung up . . .

You are right man! I told this Indian man tech scammer he was a liar that Microsoft does solicit over the phone. NO MORE CALLS from them!!

The No Call list is a joke. The federal trade commission is doing nothing to stop this harassment. Don't expect any help. Why waste your time filing a complaint when they don't follow up?

I receive these calls often wanting me to give them information as to where my free medical alert system from number 516 435 3217. Today they were from a person called Lori. When I press 1 like instructed and ask to be taken off their calling list the person just hangs up the phone. This morning I received two calls within 30 minutes of each other. This has been going on for months. I just got on the no call list but was told that it will take 31 days for the calls to keep coming. Needless to say I find these calls and others to be very frustrating. It's too bad these crooks can't find an honest way to make a living.

Signing up to the no call list will do nothing to alleviate the illegal, harassment calls from credit card services or Medic-Alert.

My elderly parent is receiving calls ID'd from "Cell Phone NY" 516-435-3217 regularly. When the phone was answered there is no one there. Will complain to DNC (if that does anything) and block the #.

I've been getting these calls daily and sometimes my name and my HOME PHONE NUMBER show up on the caller ID and it's Hello Seniors. How can they spoof my home phone number and call my home phone? This is ridiculous. How is the Government going to deal with terrorists when they can't shut these people down?

The calls are a nuisance, but the real problem is that when I hang up, the call is not terminated. After I hang up, I have lifted the receiver and the message is still playing. When they call in, I can't call out. That can be life threatening in a medical emergency.

What good is the Do Not Call List if you can't get a number to report robocalls? I would think Congress, if they could ever work together, could do something about it by working through the telephone companies.

Follow the Money. Law enforcement can simply establish a credit card account for seniors to use who are getting these calls. Once the charges are processed through the bank, the scammers are identifiable. . . It's an old rule for investigations: Follow the money.

10/07/14

The same old "Hello, seniors..." telemarketing scam about a free medical alert system, repeated requests to be placed on their do not call list have no effect. When one hits "1" to speak with a human, their operators are without exception surly, evil tempered, and generally pitas.

212-662-8642

Have had many of these calls over the past several months. I usually just hang up, but tonight a call came in at 11pm while we were sleeping! I'm certain they are just trying to catch people off guard. I don't understand why nothing can be done with these crooks who invade our homes with abandon.
The number this evening was 212-662-8642.

I received calls from the Medic Alert System from numerous different numbers, and today, reported the latest several telephone calls (~6 numbers) from them to the FTC Do Not Call Registry complaint line.

It's hard to grasp the fact that a major governmental agency cannot identify, prosecute and stop these ever increasing floods of malicious telephone solicitation calls from many different scams and companies that ignore federal and state do not call laws. Anyone at the ftc care to explain why that is the case and the number of calls is almost back up to the level that it was when the do not call legislation was passed?

Very sincerely,
Beverly Howard

Hi, Beverly,

Technology has made it very easy -- and very cheap -- for people to place illegal robocalls. These scammers spoof caller ID information, so the phone numbers reported to the FTC aren't the scammers' real phone numbers. In fact, many of these calls come from overseas, which can make prosecuting them much more difficult. The FTC is working on solutions to this problem. Visit ftc.gov/robocalls to see what we've done so far, and keep checking back. We'll be updating that page with more news soon.

When I tell them I am on the no call list, they simply hang up...three to four calls a day. Please give some teeth to this annoyance. Send a message. Do something. Do not copy and paste your answer, that is as bad as these robocalls.

Hi, I gave my phone number to Trillium College to get some information about the school. Than the college sold out my number and my information the same day to a Telemarketing Company. I am registered with Do not Called Registery but they are all useless as hell! I have been complaining for th elast 5 months every day to Do not Call Registery and they say you have to make complain every day...but the Telemarketing do not leave me alone!!!! I am getting emails phone calls texting every twenty minutes from them every single day from 8AM till 11PM! I told them already I am not interested. I complain to BBB but they do not care either! No body cares! They complain that they get 100s of calls every day, well why do not they just hire more people if they do not have enough staff! They are slow as hell and they basically do not give a a crab about consumers! No body does!Telemarketers know about that and they know they can harass the consumers without being caught by any one! They are afraid of no one! Never give your information to Trillium College. they will sell you out like a piece of crab to Telemarketers! Their number is 1-289-222011

I cannot understand why the government wastes money on sites like this rather than shuting down the scammers. Could it be that they are taking the easy way out as with their enforcement of the Do Not Call list?

To Nicole Fleming:

Since "Senior Life Alert" calls from an untraceable spoofed number, would American Express for example, be able to trace who the $29.95 payment went to? Feigning interest seems the only way to catch the scammers as they probably won't send the product, or will use an untraceable return address.

Thank you,

Rick

Rick, we are all getting Senior Life Alert, Senior Aid, Senior Med, Consumer Alert, Card Servicew, etc. Months ago, I called Life Alert, they said they would never use anything but an 800 number and the scammers are costing them business. Interestingly, they also told me the FBI had actually caught one of the Life Alert phone scammers so I guess they are more special than we are, because no one in govt is going to help citizens like you or me. It is up to you to protect yourself. Do not answer, EVER, and turn on your audible screening function. The scammers won't leave a message and, in fact, won't even stay on for your entire outgoing message. Don't speak with them, sweetie. They just want to hurt you and if you engage or confront them, it puts a wild hair up their butt and they try to scam you even more. Most of them give up if you just screen and don't pick up. I learned this the hard way, over a year or so, and I hope that makes it easier for you. And no, the phone company doesn't care about anything but getting your bill payment on time, they don't have to care about the content of phone calls -- at least most of them Including mine, Century Link. Protect your mental health and bank account: screen, don't engage!

I always answer the call, and then waste as much of their time as possible. They should learn my number gets them No Money.

Until spoofing can be stopped (and it can), this problem will never cease. Spoofing only continues to occur because the carriers refuse to accept the task of declining to route calls that they know are originating from systems that cannot possibly 'own' the numbers being passed to them in the call information.

Even with number portability, the carriers all know (to use an internet analogy) who is 'authoritative' for a particular number, else they could never be successfully routed. If a carrier is asked to route a call that carries a number that cannot have originated from a requesting carrier system, it should be denied. That's a bit of an oversimplification of the issue, but I hope it gets the point across.

Killing the ability to so easily provide inaccurate phone numbers through caller ID would make the robocall a much more difficult thing to accomplish. The idea is to assure that for any call (apart from rare exceptions as needed for personal safety - and those must be controlled instances provided for by the carrier with permission) a real number exists to track back to the caller.

It may require (much as I hate the idea) government intervention to deal with the carriers. They're the only ones in a position to start denying routing to these calls so that they cannot be completed.

I have argued with various government agencies about the inability to stop spoofed calls. Lately I have been getting calls from 555-000-1269 calls. I also receive calls that have just the number 1 in the caller ID. Obviously neither of these numbers is a legal, viable number. When robocalls go out, hundreds of thousands of them are going out at the same time to people. They should be stopped before they ever reach an end-user such as a consumer. How can numbers that don't exist make phone calls? We are told the government can monitor every citizen's phone calls?

I've long given up hope of getting these calls to stop altogether. So, for at least a year now, I just have fun with the people. I press 1 every time, just so I can waste a real person's time.

I usually make gibberish noises for as long as I can without taking a breath. If there's still someone there, then I keep going. Once, I had the guy talking gibberish back at me. Once, the guy called me back and did the same thing to me. Quite fun! Other fun tactics are to put your phone on speaker and just go about your business (not as fun), dropping your phone repeatedly on the desk, or banging metal together loudly.

What has worked best with the debt consolidation scammers has been to ask them directly if I can send them large amounts of cash on the mail; I guess that's a tip to stop calling you.

But, lately the medical alert people have started calling, and they actually seem sincere. They sound disappointed not to be able to take cash in the mail. When I asked if they would send me groceries, they offered a voucher. Today, I had the lady going for 2.5 full minutes of nonsense gibberish, occasionally asking "what?", loud coughing, and slurred redneck speak. She suggested seeing the doctor for my cough before finally hanging up.

Do these folks actually think they're making legitimate calls? News flash: I'm 33 years old and don't need a bracelet.

The best thing is to hang up the phone.

Seriosly, Kyle, you comments made me laugh out loud. I nearly snorted coffee out my nose at your offering to send them large amounts of cash. I have put my phone on my car hood and blew the horn for as long as I could stand it. They were still on the phone. I have fog horns, every loud noise saved on my computer including train whistles. They are impossible to stop. I accuse them all the time of knowing their calls are scams and continuing to do them. I have suggested they turn their bosses in for the reward money that is sure to be there for their arrest. Nothing works. But you at least got me to laugh today, after having received 2 "Hello Seniors" calls and 3 from "Rachel at Cardholder's Services" which is a total scam.

A scam-buster columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sheryl Harris, has said the following: When you are completing anything on line (a purchase, an application, an order, do not give your phone number. If it has a little red asterisk (*) by the phone number indicating it is required, she suggests making up a number. They can already reach you by email if there is a problem. And with email, you can at least "unsubscribe" if they sell your info. Once in a while, in addition, I also will change my middle initial to something else and track how much junk mail I get using that initial. I change it with every order, application, etc. and keep a log by my phone. You would be surprised who sells your information, even though their website tells you they don't. Consumer: Beware

FTC...DO YOUR JOB! I am tired of being harassed by this illegal activity!

I am not a senior, I am in healthcare, no one has refereed my this is another boiler room rip off.....the government can hack into our email, but cannot shut down this operation? Is this part of ACA? Hmmm?

I have a much better idea for scammers.
Seriously if we increase the punishment for these types of people trying to screw others this will stop.
Too many scammers out there and nothing is being done about it. Glad we pay taxes, huh.

Let me get this right... The FEDS get caught tracking literally every call Americans make in the name of National Security (ESCHELON) but the FTC is powerless to stop these phone scammers? WE CALL NEED TO START COMPLAINING TO OUR REPRESENTATIVES AND PUSH FOR THE FTC TO ANSWER UP FOR THIS TOTALLY INCOMPETENT RESPONSE.

These people have more then one number, it is impossible to block them for long. And they just keep calling. I am on do not call list and unpublished and unlisted. And they still call.

Reading all these complaints about the Medic Alert calls is really depressing. I've received two of the calls just this week, the last at 9:30 at night. I finally pushed the number for opting out the last time but they called again....and this is on my cell. Here's another phone number they used: 4357785632 FTC please do something and post what you are doing to stop this scam. I will ask my congressman to inquire as to what can be done.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Please file a complaint with the FTC and share the information you have. It's important to submit a complaint because investigators from all over the country access the FTC's complaint database.

They're still calling. Spoofing local area codes and trying. You need to stop this. There's technology out there. Perhaps your agency is in on the scam. You could easily mandate the phone companies to incorporate anti-spoofing technology and robotic call blocking.

The technology is available to instant trace the call even with spoofed caller ID. The carriers should be forced to use it and to give us a *xx code that we could dial whenever we receive a DNC or Fraud call. This should be followed up and people jailed.

When I have time, I play a game where I try to keep the sales person on the line as long as possible. Ask lots of questions and have them explain everything over and over. The challenge is to see how long they can hold out.

FTC -- why won't you pursue this? Do you need more funding from Congress? Do you that Congressional pressure to act? Citizens, please call your Congressmen and women and have they apply the necessary pressure. Let them know how you feel. This blog is not going to get results directly from the FTC. They need a gentle nudge.

This page explains some of the FTC's work on robocalls. The FTC has stopped companies responsible for billions of illegal robocalls that have offered fraudulent credit card services, so-called auto warranty protection plans, medical discount cards, and grant procurement programs. The FTC is continuing aggressive law enforcement efforts, pursuing innovative strategies to gather evidence against robocall kingpins, producing consumer education, and coordinating with industry and other experts to fight robocallers.

The problem is the phone companies and the carriers. If I am selling cars, the more cars I sell, the more profit I make. If the phone lines and phone facilities are being used more, the phone companies and carriers are making money. Why should they want to stop phone use??? It is their business to increase phone usage. If a million dollar reward were offered to the first technician who came up with an idea to stop robocalls, I can assure you, these calls would cease in 6 weeks or less. In the meantime, our taxpayer funds are wasted on the donotcall.gov system.

I've been getting calls from a scam called "Card Services", for three and a half years. I have filed many complaints with the FCC the National do not call list, and Utah state. Nothing has stopped them. Some weeks they have called as many as 8 times, often twice a day. I pushed #9 to be taken off their list now I get calls for a free Medical Alert system. Same scenario, now they call me 5 to 10 times a week. Even on Sundays and sometime in the late evening. Changing my phone number did no good, nor has anything else. It looks like the FCC or FTC or the FBI would get off the duffs and do something to protect citizens. Where is the NSA now that we really need them?

I have been getting these Hello seniors calls for months, if I press 1 to speak witha an operator, the call disconnects, if call the number back i get a message saying that number is no longer in service, i am on the do not call list as well. I have even blocked that number from my phone, 2 days later i get the same call from a different number. i am more than tired of this B.S. !!

I have been getting the robo calls for the free senior medical alert gizmo once or twice a day for months or maybe even a year. It is always the same man's recorded voice and it starts out by saying, "Don't hang up..." Today I pressed '1' and laid the phone down. It was silent for a while then a male voice said, "Hello. My name is Brian Alexander and my number is...." I didn't write down the number. I remained silent and after the voice said hello a few times he hung up and the AT&T voice said, "If you want to dial a number..."

Can somebody pleeeeeeease help me? STOP THESE CALLS!

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.

When you get illegal sales calls or robocalls, it's best to ignore them. Don't interact in any way. Don’t press buttons to be taken off the call list or to talk to a live person or call back. That just leads to more calls.  These are useful details for a complaint.  Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report your experience.

You can also ask your phone provider if they charge for a service that blocks a particular phone number. But remember - fraudulent telemarketers change the numbers they call from easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will almost always change.

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