Commercials advertising medical alert devices have become a mainstay on television networks these days. Companies showcase the need for these products, especially for the safety and protection of the senior citizen community. Recently, however, a new scam has been circulating around the New York area offering "free" medical alert devices to senior citizens.
Individuals posing as representatives for medical device companies have been calling senior citizens asking for money and personal information, such as social security numbers or credit card information in return for "free" medical alert equipment. Seniors may also be coerced into believing that their health and well-being is at serious risk without the use of this equipment.
Over the past year, the New York Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection has received dozens of consumer complaints regarding these calls. Fortunately, we have been able to inform consumers about the nature of this scam, and have advised them not to divulge any of their personal or financial information.
The New York Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection asks you to keep your personal information heavily guarded. Legitimate companies selling medical alert equipment will never request your personal information in an unsolicited phone call. We offer the following tips to any consumer approached with an unsolicited offer by a telemarketer:
- If you receive an unsolicited call from anyone asking for your personal information, hang up your phone.
- If you take the call, identity who is calling and what company they represent. Make sure to get an address and a phone number for the business.
- Only give out personal information if you initiate a call to a company you know to be reputable.
- If you think you are interested in an offer made by a telemarketer, hang up and call the company back to verify that the call is legitimate. In addition, do some light research through internet posts or by asking relatives and friends.
- Avoid unwanted sales calls. Place your personal phone number on the Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or logging onto www.donotcall.gov and make sure to file a complaint (at the same website and phone number) if you are registered and receive telemarketing calls.
For more information regarding scams and scam prevention, please contact the New York Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection at (518)-474-8583 or visit www.dos.ny.gov