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If it’s free it’s for me, or is it?

July 1, 2013

in State

Area seniors and people with disabilities are receiving calls from someone claiming they are from one of many medical alert systems on the market. Criminals are robocalling seniors all over the country to tell them that their children, doctor, or insurer have placed them on a list to get free medical alert services, like the Life Alert product (although it is not in any way affiliated with Life Alert).

But the scammer’s service is not free. Seniors that fall prey to this scam are asked to just press 5 on their phone to accept the free gift and then are immediately called back by a live operator and asked for their credit number or method of payment for a $35 monthly charge. Other seniors have been asked for their Social Security number and other private details, presumably by identity thieves.

Seniors and the elderly are more likely to comply with the caller if they believe they are receiving a gift from friends or family. And, some of the live callers pressure victims to cooperate.

Seniors are warned to never give out their personal financial information to strangers. Those warnings are even more important because seniors, once scammed, are reluctant to tell anyone they’ve been wronged.

If you believe that you have been a target of this scam, the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) can help with any questions or concerns you may have at 888-515-6565.

Funded by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, SMP’s mission is to empower and assist Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to prevent, detect, and re-port healthcare fraud, errors, and abuse through outreach, counseling, and education.

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