Action Report: BBB warns of new scam targeting seniors

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 12 at 10:21 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

Bob was surprised when he got a call offering him a free medical alert system. He hadn't ordered one, so he quickly got suspicious.

"The first thing they said  you have been selected for a prepaid Life Alert system," recalled Bob.

"Somebody prepaid a system for you, and we'd like to come install it. Bloop. You hung up on them, why? Because I figured it was a scam, who's going to pay for a system for me."

"He knew right off that it was a scam, and he called the BBB, which is wonderful" said Cynthia Albert of the Better Business Bureau.

In recent weeks, many people filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau. The callers may promise a free system, but it's a trick, and the victims end up paying, and may receive nothing.

"They get your credit card, they may even get your bank account number," pointed out Albert.

The real Life Alert company's website has a Fraud Alert, warning people that scammers are using the company name to trick people.

"Life Alert, the real Life Alert is very much against this," said Albert. "Number one, they do not employ telemarketers to make cold calls."

"I got calls personally at my house, and my mother got calls at her house," said Better Business Bureau President Michael Cook.

The scammers even tried to trick the President of the New Orleans Better Business Bureau, starting with this tape recorded message.

"It has all been paid for, so there is no cost to you whatsoever," was part of the tape.

So Michael Cook played dumb when the salesman came on the line.

"I could hear him that he was almost covering the phone laughing," said Cook. "I guess he thought he had a real fish on the line."

The real Life Alert has an A Plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, and they're issuing warnings to people: never give personal information or credit card numbers if someone calls you over the phone.

The Better Business Bureau is echoing that warning, and saying you should do just one thing:

"Don't give them any information," warned Albert. The sooner the better: Hang up."
 

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