I-Team: Robo-call scam claims to be Life Alert - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

I-Team: Robo-call scam claims to be Life Alert

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Here's a scam warning that you need to know about. It's causing such a stir that a life-saving medical company is filing a lawsuit to get it to stop.

FOX5 I-Team's Dana Fowle has this important story on a robo-call that consumer advocates say is targeted at tricking the elderly. There is a warning going out all across the U.S. concerning a phone call that officers a free service – but, in the end, is anything but free.

Dana followed up with Marcel Cole, an Atlanta man and retired truck driver who says he gets so many soliciting calls a day that he's started keeping a list of them. Despite the list growing, there is one caller in particular who stands out right now.  

The Better Business Bureau warns of a telemarketing scam by companies who say they're a free service for senior citizens so they can send an alert to emergency responders if the senior citizen falls or gets sick.  

Cole said, "That somebody had already paid for it. They would pay the postage. All they wanted me to do then was give 'em my address and I can't tell you what I told them, but ... I told them to go to hell!"   

The BBB says that had Cole agreed with this so-called freebie he would have been directed to  press a button to accept the offer, and then, he would have been asked to provide his personal banking information.   

Cole says each time the caller asked for his information he said "No!" He said that wasn't the end of it. The calls kept coming.

Now, Life Alert is a well-known emergency response company.  And in a letter to prosecutors nationwide, company officials say they are getting complaints that other companies are impersonating them - going as far as to use their famous slogan, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!'   

This is a reminder that if a stranger calls and offers you something for free in exchange for your personal information, then hang up the phone. If you think the call is from a legitimate source, then ask the caller to mail the offer and company information to you.

And, what about those ‘Do Not Call' lists? Cole says he's on that list and subscribes to a privacy manager through his phone services and is STILL getting calls from telemarketers. The Do Not Call list is only as good as the companies that participate. Scammers tend to not sign up to be part of the program.

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