Reputable companies that sell personal emergency alert devices might air disturbing TV ads, but at least they mean well, don’t lie in their ads, and–here’s the important thing–don’t bombard America’s seniors with robocalls about the “free” alert system they’ve been given. The attorney general in Florida and the Federal Trade Commission have teamed up to stop this scam further up the food chain.
When the FTC and Florida stopped one medical alert scheme back in 2014, the Florida-based telemarketing firm that was making the actual calls settled with the agencies and promised not to place robocalls or deceive seniors anymore. Yay!
Only that firm wasn’t really the company behind the scheme, and the calls would simply start up again. That’s why the state and federal governments are now going after the company that sells the actual emergency alert systems. They allege that the company knew perfectly well what the telemarketing firms selling its devices have been up to, and they would simply find someone else to place the calls when any one provider was shut down.
“When we sued Lifewatch’s telemarketers for making deceptive robocalls, they just continued the same illegal practices with new telemarketers,” the FTC’s Director of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, said in a statement. “The FTC and the Florida Attorney General won’t be deterred, and will continue to work together to stop illegal robocalls.”
We stand against all unwanted robocalls, and this scam in particular has drained tens of millions of dollars from the pockets of safety-minded seniors, many of whom can’t spare the $30-40 per month that the system costs. After all, they were told that it was free.
Warn the important elders in your life about this scam, and remind them to report nefarious robocalls to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or online at ftccomplaintassistant.gov. If you are interested in an alert system for yourself or a loved one, don’t wait for a robocall: our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports compiled information about the systems on the market and compared their features.
Robocalling will become a less lucrative business once consumers are better able to block the calls from even bothering us, but scammers will still find a way to target seniors.
This LifeAlert Ad Is Creepier Than American Horror Story
How Should I Shop For A Medical Alert System? [Consumer Reports]