It sounds too good to be true. Seniors receive a call offering them a free medical alert system. After they agree to the free shipment, another call requests some confirmation information, such as bank account information, credit card numbers, and/or Social Security identification numbers. This scam, currently being operated in many of the fifty states, is known as the medical alert scam. All senior citizens are at risk and it pays to be aware of it.

Authorities believe these calls originate overseas or are somehow masked to prevent tracing. Therefore, the primary line of defense is awareness and avoidance. These calls are entrees to identity theft and should be avoided at all costs. Seniors are encouraged to use caller ID technologies to screen calls, answering only those from known persons. If you mistakenly find yourself on the end of an automated call, do not engage with the system or otherwise talk to someone. Simply hang up the phone, declining any “free” offers.

The victims of this scam are unsuspecting seniors, but one company that offers quality alert systems is taking action to protect both their name and unsuspecting seniors. MedicalAlert, a legitimate company, took out full-page ads in late June in newspapers in Detroit, Cleveland, Miami and New York. The full-page ads include tips such as: “NEVER sign blank Medicare insurance forms” and “Be suspect of ANY unrequested telephone solicitation claiming to be affiliated with Medicare, MedicalAlert, ConnectAmerica or any medical-alarm brand.”

To date, hundreds of seniors are victims of this scam. Authorities warn that the potential for continuing and additional scams is high. Seniors need to remain vigilant safeguarding their personal information, particularly financial and medical details. Never provide personal information to unsolicited callers and, in fact, keep your financial and medical affairs known to only a few trusted persons. This privacy is the best defense against the lowly scam artists preying on seniors.


Source: USA Today