Seniors warned of ‘medical alert’ phone scams - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Seniors warned of ‘medical alert’ phone scams

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The Better Business Bureau is warning area senior citizens that if they get a phone call telling them that someone has ordered a free medical or safety alert system for them to not speak or press any of their phone's buttons and just to hang up.

In recent weeks, the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois has received numerous phone calls and comments from concerned seniors saying they received a call – in these cases automated "robo-calls" – from a company identifying itself as "Emergency Medical Alert Systems," "Senior Safety Alert," "Senior Emergency Care," "Senior Safe Alert," or something similar, a release from BBB said.

The automated message says that "someone has ordered a free medical alert system for you, and this call is to confirm shipping instructions." The message then instructs the listener to press a button to speak to a customer service representative for verification purposes, where the "representative" asks for the listener's credit card and personal information. But the BBB is urging those who are the receiving end of these calls, not to press any buttons, and not to even speak, just to hang up.

"These automated dialing systems can place tens of thousands of calls a day and the calls appear to target the elderly and disabled" Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois, said. "The calls also claim to be from various well-known medical alert service providers, but the providers say the calls are not originating from them."

BBB offers some additional tips, besides hanging up, on how seniors can avoid being a victim. They include; if there's a live person on the line, asking for the company's physical address. A legitimate company will not refuse to give this information to its potential customers. If the representative refuses to give out a physical address for the company or other identifying information, it is most likely a scam. Also, don't respond to offers to "opt out" of future calls. That alerts the caller that this is a working number. And, never give your bank or credit card information, or your social security number to anyone over the telephone.

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