A new barrage of annoying robocalls is targeting seniors across the country with the promise of a free medical alert system. And not just any system—the recorded message says it's Life Alert—the original "I've fallen and can't get up" product advertised on TV.
The sales pitch is convincing, but it's a lie—and unfortunately people are falling for this clever come-on.
Hugh Farrell received five of these robocalls recently. The 80-year old, who lives in Rockwall, Texas, says the pitch was mighty appealing.
"It went like this," Farrell said. "We have a medic alert system for you and it's all been paid for, and all we need from you is permission to ship it to you."
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Farrell was suspicious, so he hung up and called his daughters.He thought maybe they had purchased a system and wanted to surprise him. They had not.
When Farrell called the Better Business Bureau in Dallas, they told him the call was a scam.
"This is just a way to sell you this service, a service that you may or may not want," explained Jeannette Kopko, senior vice president of communications at the Better Business Bureau of Dallas.
Talk to that live salesperson and they'll try to get your credit or debit card number, Kopko said. They may even ask for your Medicare number—that's your Social Security number— something you should never give to a stranger on the phone.
The next thing you know, you're billed $35 a month for that supposedly free medical alert system.
"Just because they describe a product that everybody's seen on TV doesn't mean it's the company you think it is," Kopko warned.
So what do you get?
The BBB has heard from people who took the bait. Some did receive a medical alert product—but not the Life Alert system. Others said they didn't get anything. Either way, there's that monthly fee to deal with—not exactly free.