Medical Alert Scam Targets Seniors

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a warning to New Yorkers after receiving information in May from multiple consumers about a scam targeting senior citizens. The scam involves robo-calls that advise the seniors have been "approved" for medical alert equipment at "no charge." The message uses scare tactics to induce consumers to respond to the offer, warning of a “significant rise in the number of senior citizens suffering death and serious life-threatening injuries from a delay in response times for medical emergencies, fires, burglaries or even a simple fall.”

The robo-call identifies the business as Senior Medical Alert or Senior Medical Advisors and attempts to obtain consumers' billing information in order to charge those consumers $35 monthly for alleged “monitoring” services. “Ultimately, it’s all a scam,” says Beverly Lawton, Executive Director of Franciscan Lifeline. “There isn’t even a product on the other end. It’s simply some group or individual attempting to get credit card or personal bank information out of seniors.” As a follow-up, Lawton obtained the phone number of the business. When her team attempted to call it back, the number had a busy signal indefinitely.

Consumers have also reported receiving subsequent, more aggressive and harassing calls from this organization in an attempt to obtain consumers’ billing information. The scammers appear to be operating from the Syracuse or Utica area, using telephone numbers with a 315 area code, including the following number: (315) 294-5936. The Attorney General is urging anyone who receives such a call not to provide the caller with any billing or other personal information.

To avoid becoming a victim of fraud, never give out billing or other personal information over the phone, especially if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from a stranger. Additionally, you should never cash a check from an unknown source or wire money to someone you do not know.