Ask Sam: Scammers Offering Medical Alert System Are Targeting Seniors

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Q. Can a fast-food restaurant deny me a courtesy cup of water? T.T. Answer: Yes, they can. According to the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, restaurants can charge for water and are not obliged to provide a free cup.
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BBB Warns Seniors of Deceptive Telemarketing Calls Offering Free Medical Alert Devices

If a caller seems suspicious, hang up and report the matter to the Attorney Generals Office. Littleton senior citizens have been reporting an increased number of scam phone calls, or calls intended to manipulate them into disclosing private bank account information. The scammers on the other end of the phone reportedly offer citizens free medical alert systems, according to Senior Liaison Officer John Janakos. They then request private information and use this data to commit identity theft or to drain bank accounts. The scammers know that the police cant stop them and that seniors are easy prey, said Janakos, adding that several seniors have called in reporting this scam within the last month. Phone scams have always been a problem, though this particular type of scam seems to be particularly prevalent in town lately, said Janakos.
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Scammers targeting seniors with medical alert system

A Cleveland woman reported to BBB in mid-May that Medical Alarms Hewlett called her, offering a new system. At first, she thought it may have been the same brand her late husband had used. When the product arrived, she realized it wasnt the brand she assumed it was and called the company to get directions to return it. The company hung up on her at first, but she eventually got through to someone who told her to ship it back to Life Alert USA at a Lynbrook, NY address. (BBB records show a company named Lifewatch, Inc. at that address.) She is still disputing a $34.95 monthly service fee that was debited to her account. These companies, they use so many names and they all sound alike, Medical Alert, Alert Services, Medical Life System, Alert USAIts confusing and they know that. she said. The use of names that are similar to well known marketers of medical alert devices is a problem.
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Robocall scammers use ‘Life Alert’ to swindle seniors

I said, ‘I don’t what you’re talking about.’ He said, ‘well it’s free, it’s all paid for.'” McCord said the call seemed genuine until she realized the person on the other end was not real. While the person seemed to pause, she realized it wasn’t answering her questions. “It was the best robo-call I’ve ever heard because it really sounded personable and there were pauses,” she said. A few days later, she received another call, also from California, but from a different number. That time, a live person encouraged her to set up an appointment to install the system at her house, but McCord hung up the phone. “I couldn’t understand why they were calling me, and then when he was so insistent it was free, I was pretty sure,” she said. When attempting to call the number, there is no option to talk to anyone about installing the system.
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Littleton seniors complain of increased scam calls

Geraldine Standiford, a 60-year old widow who lives in Cleveland, got the call and agreed to the monthly charge. After she hung up, she realized she had made a mistake. She called the company to cancel, but the equipment arrived anyway. She found a debit for $34.95 from her checking account. After filing a complaint with the Cleveland BBB and waiting for more than a month, Geraldine got her money back.
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