Robocall scam targeting seniors hits Washington

Print
Email
|

by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 18 at 9:47 AM

The Washington Attorney General’s office is warning seniors about a new robocall scam.  The callers are offering free emergency alert devices.  But it’s not your safety they’re worried about, just your pocketbook.

Kyle Davis and his brothers know they can't be there to help their parents all the time.  So they signed them up for a type of medical alert pendant in case of emergency.

“You want to be protective of your parents,” said Kyle. 

But the family never thought their first call for help would be to me.

“This is a company that's supposed to be helping out seniors and yet they are kind of scamming seniors, it appears,” explained Kyle.

This is a confusing scam that’s sweeping the nation.  It starts with a robocall offering a free alert device.  Kyle’s mom Dixie Davis got the calls but since her son’s had already set her up with one, she opted out. 

“It said if you're not interested in receiving this, press five I think it was, or some number,” explained Dixie.  “So I just pushed five and they thanked me and said that I wouldn't hear from them again.”

 Dixie didn’t get another call.  Instead, the next thing she heard was a new mobile contraption hitting her doorstep. 

“The next day after receiving this (device) I got my American Express card and another $39 dollars for this was on there,” said Dixie.

A check of Dixie's credit card bill shows the same company is charging her for both devices.  So how did this happen?  It appears that a third party marketer is calling seniors and then sending devices.  The Washington Attorney General's Office has seen a number of complaints about these kinds of calls.

“It's important to remember that something that is represented to you as free isn't always free,” explained Shannon Smith with the Washington Attorney General’s office.  “Buying something in response to a robocall isn't the best way to make a purchase.”

 The Attorney General has not been able to pin down who’s making the calls but a number of states have reported getting the same complaints. There's even a lawsuit between "med alert companies" that includes this issue.

 “Be on high alert because unfortunately there are people out there who are trying to take advantage of senior citizens and their family members for all kinds of products,” warned Smith. 

If you need a device like this ask your physician or check out AARP for a reputable company.  And when it comes to phone offers, play it safe and just say no. 

Print
Email
|