Scam of the day – August 8, 2015 – FTC sues Lifewatch

 

Scams involving medical services have been a staple of scam artists since the earliest days of time and seniors are frequently targets of scams so when you put the two together, you have the perfect storm for scams.  Although there are many companies that offer medical alert systems for seniors, there are many scammers that sell these services to unwary seniors.  So how do you tell the sales pitch for a scam medical alert company from the sales pitch for a legitimate medical alert company?  One way to tell is if the sales pitch comes via an illegal prerecorded robocall.  Since robocalls are illegal, obviously a company selling you their services through this type of call has little regard for the law and you should have little regard for that company.  One such company, Lifewatch is presently being sued by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Attorney General of Florida who allege that the company violates the law not only through illegal robocalls, but also by alleging that the system is free and already been paid for by a friend or family member when that is untrue.  They also are accused of misrepresenting that their product has been endorsed by AARP, which it has not.  Finally, they are accused of telling prospective customers that they won’t be charged anything (on the product they have already been told has been prepaid) until they activate the device.  The truth, according to the FTC, is that Lifewatch charges people immediately.

TIPS

Since robocalls are illegal, if a product is being pitched to you in a robocall, you can’t trust the company so why should you buy the product?  As for medical alert services, if you are considering buying one, you should first check with your physician and then check out the company with the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, your state attorney general and even by just putting the name of the company into a Google search with the word “scam” and see what come up.

Scam of the day – March 8, 2015 – FTC announces new Robocall Contests

We have all received those annoying robocalls with the voice of an actual person, such as “Rachel” from cardholder services, but without a real person on the line. Robocalls are recorded, computer generated mass phone calls that contain a variety of enticing offers, such as a lower mortgage rate, lower credit card interest or a better automobile warranty. Illegal robocalls are easy to spot.  If you receive a robocall, it is illegal.  Federal law prohibits recorded sales messages unless you have given your specific written permission to receive them.  Only politicians, charities and poll taking researchers are allowed to use robocalls.

TIPS

The very fact that you are receiving a robocall indicates that the caller is acting illegally so why should you expect their offer to be anything close to legitimate.  Hang up immediately.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just announced two new robocall contests in an effort to get help from the public in its battle to stop robocalls.  Contestants will compete in the development of a new honeypot which is the term for an information system that can be used to gather and analyze robocalls.  One of the two contests has a $25,000 top prize and as many as two honorable mention awards of $10,500 each.  You can find information about the robocall contests at www.challenge.gov in the section entitled “Robocalls:  Humanity Strikes Back.”