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Scammers target seniors for medical devices

7:53 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Another scam is sweeping the country tonight and it preys on the fears of senior citizens.

It's late at night.

You are alone at home.

Suddenly you feel faint, or you've just fallen down.

You reach for a wristwatch alert, and hit the button.

It sends an immediate medical alarm that could save your life.

But be careful -- scammers are making thousands of calls every minute to try and lure you into a deal you don't want using shady tactics.

RESOURCE GUIDE: Personal Emergency Response Systems Information

For seniors, a medical alert device can be a lifesaver.

Many of these seniors have alert devices installed near their beds and in their bathrooms, but they don't have the portable alert devices.

They are simply afraid of getting ripped off.

So to get the facts on this latest scam, we had Cindy Liebes, the Director of the Southeast office of Federal Trade Commission, answer these seniors directly. They were attending classes at the Northside Activity Center in Atlanta.

"Are these people preying on me because I am a senior citizen," asked Delores Williams.

"They are focusing on people who did not order the merchandise and they are prying on their fears, preying on older people. I don't want to be by myself. I want to be independent and I don't want to fall. I don't want to have a heart attack or a stroke and have nobody able to get me to help me. The scammers prey on these fears," Liebes said.

"What if a person calls me and asks for my checking account number," asked Barbara Spear.

"They will start asking for money or ask for your checking account or credit card information. If they ask you for that information, then it's not free. 

They are having you pay for the device and when they get that information from you not only will they take the money from you but they can steal your identity," Liebes added.

"What should I do if a caller tells me a friend or a doctor told me to order this," asked Lillian Meadow.

"These guys are really tricky. They will say someone in your family or your doctor or someone you trust has ordered this device for you but you have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars on a monthly basis and a huge upfront fee," Liebes said.

Bottom line, if you have any questions about your medical alert system or any call you may have received to order one, contact the Georgia Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau.
If you think you are a victim of a scam, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission.

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