How To Avoid Medical Alert System Scams
April 12, 2016
Over the years, seniors have fallen victim to scam artists who exploit their age and vulnerability in order to get money. Thanks to technology, scammers have gotten smarter about how they prey on older folks, and it’s sad to say that the medical alert industry has been a victim of scammers, as well.
Not all is lost, however. Here are some ways that we can work together to not only ensure the safety of older adults, but also restore the integrity of the medical alert device industry:
1. Be Wary of Free Medical Alert Systems
The “free medical alert system scam” is one of the more popular schemes that con artists are using to scam the elderly. If you are contacted via phone, mail, or email regarding the promise of a medical alert system “at no cost to you,” disregard this as a medical alert system scam. While many medical alert companies may offer a free gift with purchase, the important thing to remember is that you have to purchase something in order to receive the free gift.
2. Never Give A Stranger Your Bank Account Number
If a medical alert company calls telling you that you will be the recipient of a new medical alert system free of charge, but then asks for your bank account number to pay for the shipping, hang up the phone immediately! This is part of the medical alert system scams that have been making their way around the country.
Your bank account number, Social Security number and credit card number all give scammers easy access to commit identity theft. If you are in the market to purchase a medical alert system, however, there are safeguards in place with each legitimate company to ensure your bank account, and identity, remain protected.
3. If It Seems To Good To Be True, It Probably Is
Some of these medical alert system scams not only promise a free medical alert system, but they also try to sweeten the deal by offering cash prizes for signing up with their “company.”
The Senior List was able to record one of these free medical alert scams and publish it to their website. In the recording, you can hear that they promise to give you “$1,000 dollars in grocery saving coupons that can be used for products you already buy and use.”
Other people have reported being promised prescription discount cards, free vacations and gift cards with a specific cash value. A good rule of thumb: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
What Should You Do If You Actually Want A Medical Alert Device?
If you or a loved one are in the market for a medical alert device and are worried about falling for a medical alert system scam, follow these tips to make sure you’re keeping yourself protected:
Do your homework.
A legitimate medical alert device company will have a website, a working phone number, and will most likely populate on review sites. Spend some time checking out their website and review sites in order to get a better idea of whether or not you can trust them.
Create a connection.
Legitimate medical alert system companies will have a team of experienced sales professionals as well as customer service experts working for them to help educate you about their products. Feel free to take advantage of this and be sure to ask your salesperson for their name and direct phone number so that you can get in touch with them again if you need some time to think it over before you purchase.
Prepare some questions.
Buying a medical alert system isn’t just a one-time purchase; when you buy a medical alert device you are signing up to have an ongoing relationship with a company. Make sure to take the time to come up with thoughtful questions to ask about their monitoring center, hidden charges or fees and the average response time once the button is pushed. A legitimate medical alert system company will know the answers to all these questions and be able to make you feel comfortable prior to making a purchase.