BBB Alert: Free Medical Alert Call Scam
May 13, 2013

Roanoke, VA (May 13, 2013) The man on the phone seemed friendly enough- he even offered a free medical alert system. She decided to act on the offer.

“OK, that sounds good to me.”

…No response.

“Hello?”

“Press 1 to accept, press 5 to decline.”

It turns out this nice friendly man was no man at all, but a recording- and the latest scam to hit seniors in Western Virginia.

Seniors are receiving “robo-calls” from a company identifying themselves as “Emergency Medical Alert Systems” offering a free medical alert system. They claim everything is paid for including shipping and handling and that the call is simply to confirm shipping instructions. Consumers are also told they have been recommended for the product by a family friend or relative. After consumers press 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 hang-up the phone when questioned on its validity. No matter what option is offered, consumers are being advised to simply hang-up the telephone.

“A reputable marketing company will never contact you using these pre-recording messages,” said Julie Wheeler, President and C.E.O. of BBB Serving Western VA. “Never, ever, give out your personal information over the phone to an unknown party. Just hang-up the phone.”

This company may claim to be associated with the American Heart Association or American Senior Benefits, but is not connected to these two legitimate organizations in any way. Some BBB’s have reported their consumers 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.

Some BBB Tips:

  • Be wary of anyone offering you something for “free” in exchange for your personal information. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Do not provide your bank account information, Medicare number, social security number or any other personal information to unknown individuals over the phone.
  • Check out the company's BBB Business Review at http://www.bbb.org to see its BBB rating, complaint history and more.

If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA