8/1/2014

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Consumer

Investigation pulls the plug on 'free medical alert' robocall pitch

Investigation pulls the plug on 'free medical alert' robocall pitch

Investigators say a U.S. district court has temporarily shut down a nationwide, illegal robocall operation devised to pictch so-called "free" medical alert devices. 

A joint complaint filed by investigators from The Florida Attorney General, the Florida Department of Legal Affairs and the Federal Trade Commission ties the deception to nearly a dozen companies in the Orlando area. According to the complaint- the scammers used a string of lies to get at your credit card account.

The robocall scam targeted millions of senior citizens across the country. Consumers report receiving a constant stream of calls multiple times a day. The FTC says the scammers lied, often claiming the free medical alert devices were recommended by a friend or relative.  They further lied once people followed the "press 1" instructions to get a real person on the phone.

The live telemarketers claim there will be no charges until after you activate and install the free device. But charges of nearly $35 for monthly monitoring were made against consumer credit card accounts immediately-  before they even received the device. 

Consumers complain their attempts to cancel the service were unsuccessful. The FTC alleges 11 counts of violating federal telemarketing sales laws.  At least 10 different companies and three different business managers are now under court order to stop what they're doing and all assets have been frozen.

Investigators say the scheme managed to snag more than $13 Million from seniors who were alone, sick, low income, and often too confused to understand what was happening. Prosecutors are asking that the now temporary shutdown to be made permanent and say their goal is to get the victims as much money back as possible.

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