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Fraud Alert: Medical Alarm Scam

May 16, 2013, 10:01 PM by Angela Kennecke

Fraud Alert: Medical Alarm Scam

Most of us have seen the, "I've fallen and I can't get up," commercials for Life Alert--the medical alarm system for emergencies. And while the ads may get some spoofing, now so is the company's name.

Like many seniors, Carol Brenner still relies on a landline phone. And that's what a telemarketing scam is banking on.

"I got a call from Life Alert, assumedly; asking for time they could set up an appointment to install my life alert.  And I said, I never ordered Life Alert," Brenner said.

Brenner hung up, but the calls persisted for two weeks.

"I said, ‘Just a minute sir, please, I didn't order this,’ and he just kept going. It was like a recording. You couldn't get a word in edgewise," Brenner said.

Many of these calls may be recordings, while others have a real person on the other end of the line. Dozens have been reported in South Dakota and surrounding states.

"No one we have talked to have signed up for this service. If they say, as Carol did, 'I didn't sign up for this service,’ They will say to you, 'This is a gift given to you by a relative.' Anything to keep you on the phone trying to set up that first appointment,” Jessie Schmidt of the Better Business Bureau said.

Angela Kennecke: You don't know if they were after getting your personal information or if they were after coming over here; you don't really know.

Carol Brenner: No I don't and that's scary.

"Clearly targeting the elderly population to get them set up on what we believe is some sort of monthly renewable contract for some medical device.  But they're very secretive, so we don't know," Schmidt said.

Finally, Brenner got tough with the man on the other end of the line and the calls stopped.

"This last guy got my ire up, I might add, and I just screamed into the phone, ‘I don't want your services,’" Brenner said.

All the calls look like they are coming from a local number, but the Better Business Bureau says it's just a case of caller-ID spoofing.

Life Alert has also issued a fraud alert on its website, about a medical alert imposter using its name. The company says it does not hire telemarketers to make cold calls and that the calls are not coming from them. If you've been contacted in this scam, report it to the Better Business Bureau.

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