BBB Alert: Consumers Receiving Unsolicited Phone Calls about Medical Equipment

  
     
June 11, 2013

BBB is cautioning consumers to be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls about medical emergency alarms and other medical supplies. The caller states that a medical alert device had been purchased and will claim to be from Medicare or use the name of a well-known medical equipment company.

Consumers have told the BBB that they have ordered, but never received the products from these telemarketers. In other cases, the telemarketer claims that the consumer ordered a medical alarm or other equipment, but the consumer must give the telemarketer their Medicare or credit card number to complete the transaction. All consumers have reported that these telemarketers are using very aggressive sales tactics.

"The BBB is urging consumers to use extreme caution if they receive a call claiming to be from Medicare or a company selling any type of medical alarms or equipment. Generally, Medicare does not make these types of unsolicited phone calls. If a consumer has a question regarding coverage, they should contact Medicare directly using the phone number found on their Medicare card," said Carol Potter, BBB President.

Medical Alert, a BBB Accredited Business in Broomall, PA, has fallen victim to scammers using its name and reputation. Mark Leighton, CEO of Medical Alert, stated "Medical Alert does not engage in any kind of robo-dialing or other unsolicited, deceptive telemarketing of this kind. Medical Alert only calls prospective customers who have requested a phone call to obtain information about our own Medical Alert system."

BBB offers the following tips on safeguarding personal information and protecting against Medicare scams:

  • Be suspicious of any telephone, email or door-to-door solicitations claiming to be affiliated with Medicare or a well-known company.
  • Be wary of anyone offering you something for "free" in exchange for your Medicare number. Remember, Medicare will not pay for medical equipment without a physician’s signature certifying that it is necessary.
  • Do not provide your bank account information, Medicare number, social security number or any other personal information to unknown individuals over the phone; particularly telephone marketers claiming to be from Medicare and asking for payment.
  • Review medical bills, Medicare Summary notices and insurance Explanation of Benefits for medical equipment carefully. If you find unusual or questionable medical charges, contact your health care provider immediately.
  • Only give your insurance/Medicare information to those who have provided you with medical services.
  • Keep accurate records of medical appointments, procedures and medical equipment.
  • Ask your medical providers what they will charge and how much you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.
  • Never sign blank Medicare insurance forms.
  • Call BBB at 330.744.3111 to obtain information on a business or visit youngstown.bbb.org.
  • Ensure your provider is approved by Medicare by contacting Medicare directly at 1.800.633.4227.