A barrage of robocalls has targeted Santa Cruz County seniors with a promise of a free Medical Alert System. The recorded voice says, “We have a Medical Alert System for you and it’s all been paid for. All we need is your permission to ship it to you.” Beware of the strings that are attached. A local Santa Cruz attorney is among the many who has received the calls. He says that the caller claimed to be from Life Alert, which is famous for the “I’ve fallen but can’t get up” advertisements that have appeared on television and radio. The robocaller went on to say that he was calling to schedule your Life Alert Installation and that he needed some information. What happens next is that the robocaller suggests that the senior needs to push # 1 to speak with a live operator. The salesperson that comes on the line says he needs the senior’s Medicare number as well as a debit card number in order to start the service. The company will then charge about $35 a month to monitor the free system. Some seniors have reported that they didn’t realize there would be a monthly fee; some have reported that the company is not the real Life Alert, and some claim that they never received the system. The District Attorney’s Consumer Affairs Office suggests:
- Do not accept calls from telemarketers. Do your research for products you need before contacting the business of your choice.
- Never provide bank account numbers or social security numbers over the phone.
- Screen calls with your answering machine in order to discourage unwanted telemarketing calls.
- Contact the Consumer Affairs office at 454-2050 with questions or consumer complaints.