(WKBW) New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a warning to New Yorkers on Thursday after receiving information from multiple consumers about a scam targeting senior citizens with robo-calls advising that they have been "approved" for medical alert equipment at "no charge."
According to a news release from Schneiderman's office:
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.
“Unfortunately, the elderly are disproportionately targeted by scam artists and are often the victims of fraud and abuse,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “To prevent senior citizens from becoming victimized, we must educate them and their loved ones with information they can use to protect themselves.”
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.
During an undercover call conducted by the Attorney General's Office, the representative provided a bogus address in Orlando, Florida, as the main headquarters of the alleged business and also claimed to be affiliated with the insurance company United Health.
Attorney General Schneiderman issued the following tips for seniors and other members of the public so they can avoid becoming victims of fraud:
• Never give out billing or other personal information over the phone, especially if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from a stranger
• Never cash a check from an unknown source, especially if you are being asked to wire a portion of the proceeds to a stranger
• Never wire money to someone you don't know who contacts you; it's the same as handing over cash
If you feel you've been a victim of this type of scam or any other type of consumer fraud, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Helpline: (800) 771-7755.