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Recent Medical-Alert Phone Calls Suspicious Warns BBB

Over the past few weeks the Better Business Bureau, Inc. (BBB) has received numerous calls from consumers across its service area stating that someone had called to inform them that a medical alert device, similar to Life Alert, had been purchased for them and it will be delivered at no charge.

One senior citizen from David City, NE reported that she received such a call. She was told they were having trouble delivering it. The consumer told the caller that she had not ordered this product and that no one purchased a medical alert for her. The caller tried to convince her that “someone bought it for you” and he needed more information on her location. Her “Caller ID” showed that the call came from 402-785-8114 in Davey, Nebraska.

BBB research on the phone number indicates the call came by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – a telephone call made over an IP network. The first call placed back to this Nebraska number by a BBB staff person, posing as an interested consumer, had an extended automated message explaining why a medical alert is needed.

The second call made by the BBB was answered by a person with an accent who said there was a fee of $34.95 for the alarm necklace. When told that she would like to know more about the device, the staff person was transferred to another man who also had an accent. BBB was told that the company he represented was called “Senior Medical Alarm” which is located in “upstate New York.” When asked for the brand name of the equipment he said, “Bosch.” Upon inquiring how to spell “Bosch”, the representative became belligerent and replied, “Everyone knows how to spell ‘Bosch’,” and hung up.

“These kinds of calls are very suspicious due to the secretive nature and lack of full disclosure to their real purpose,” said BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty. “Remember to never give out any of your personal information over the phone, regardless of what they say it’s for.”

Consumers who receive these calls regarding a medical alert system can report the call to the BBB at 504-581-6222 or BBB’s toll free Senior Line at 877-637-3334 or to your state’s Attorney General.

Reproduced with permission from the Better Business Bureau – May  2013 Bulletin

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