Medical Alert Scam Calls Recorded

After receiving several medical alert scam calls this week from fraudulent medical alert scam robo-callers, we decided to do some hunting around to capture audio from the call.  Perhaps this captured medical alert scam recording will help educate the public (including national/local agencies) to put an end to this madness.  These sickos are targeting seniors with an offer of a “personal medical alert system at no cost to you”.  The call goes on “Since you’ve already been referred by a medical professional, your package is ready to be shipped”.  The scam doesn’t end there… “By receiving the package today” the recording states, “you’re now eligible to receive $1000 dollars in grocery saving coupons that can be used for products you already buy and use”. This scam has been going on for over a year now.  Federal and state agencies need to get a better handle on these calls targeting aging adults, kids, and the unsuspecting public in general.  Our advice is to hang up immediately (do not press any key), note the number you received the call from, and notify the appropriate authorities.  Your notification should include the FCC complaint page, as well as the Do Not Call Registry.

Medical Alert Scam Call Recording

Ironically The Senior List received has received callsl from these medical alert fraudsters, the latest coming just this week.  The numbers that were captured through our caller ID was 212-660-5351 and the other number we captured was 516-435-7389.  The script went just as the recorded call noted, but one of the calls also added a 75% prescription discount card.  If you’re interested in what the FTC says about robo calls, see the video below. Have you received a robo call for a free medical alert system?  What did you do?  How do you feel about these kind of calls being directed into people’s homes?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Special thanks to John’s recorded SPAM calls for the original audio feed

Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert System

We’ve written extensively about medical alert systems here on The Senior List. We’ve done so in an attempt to educate the public on appropriateness of use, and to offer tips and advice on buying a medical alert system for your loved one (or yourself).

One of the things we haven’t focused on as much is what we think the perfect medical alert system consists of.  So with that as a backdrop, here is our wish list. Our top 5 features that would define the perfect (in-home) medical alert system:

The Best Medical Alert System: Top 5 Features

 

1.  The best medical alert system should be a small (discrete) waterproof form factor

I’m talking about a small pendant style medical alert system that doesn’t make you look like Flava Flave (of Public Enemy fame).  There should be options today on style, and there really aren’t many to choose from.  Our idea for best options include both the necklace style pendant alert button, as well as a small wristband type device.  Both should beflavor flav Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert System totally waterproof so they can be worn in the shower or the bathtub.  Not-so-fun-fact; Did you know that over 1 in 3 seniors fall every year, and according to to the National Institute on Aging, over 80 of those falls are in the bathroom.  This is why it’s so important for manufacturers to get this WATERPROOFING issue right now.  Most of the medical alert devices today are water resistant (not waterproof), leading many manufacturers to recommend that they not be worn in the bathtub or shower (at the very least not submerged).  This is a biggie folks, the best medical alert devices need to be waterproof.

2.  The best medical alert system providers should never ask you to sign a long term agreement

Our favorite providers out there have month-to-month options for families and they don’t gouge the customer for choosing this option.  Believe it or not, there are some medical alert system providers that have conned consumers into 3 year contract commitments, which is appalling.  Just sniff around The Senior List medical alert system articles and you’ll hear directly from consumers that got stuck… and aren’t happy!  Always, always make sure you’re signing up for a commitment that you are comfortable with, not something a sales person pushes you into signing.  In fact if you do get pressured like that, just walk away.  Tell them you’ll be sharing your story with us, and we’ll make sure to warn other consumers of nasty sales tactics.  Frankly, we’re tired of it.

3.  The best medical alert system should be comfortable and lightweight

One of the worst ttimex ironman Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert Systemhings that could happen after investing in life-saving technology like a medical alert system is that your loved one doesn’t wear it.  Our wish list includes something that looks fashionable or sporty, and isn’t bulky or hard edged.  If it’s as comfortable as my Timex Ironman watch band, it’s going to be worn all the time.  If it’s big, bulky and clunky like my Tissot dress watch… it’s only going to be worn for special occasions.  And that’s not good enough!  Many of the form factors (pendant or wrist style) all look alike today… but hey this is a wish list right?

4.  The best medical alert systems should have fall detection technology that works

We’ve heard from countless community members here on The Senior List that fall detection on the devices today stinks!  While we love and respect your feedback, we’re in the camp that believes it’s good… not great (yet).  Fall detection has been around for years in these devices.  A number of companies over the years have bit-the-big-one (read failed) trying to develop a fall detection device and stand on that leg alone (as a major differentiator).  Frankly, it’s tough to do for a huge number of reasons.  First, expectations of what fall detection devices should or shouldn’t do vary widely with both consumers and industry experts.  The algorithms that constitute what a fall is and what a fall isn’t are difficult to define and fine-tune.  Finally, we all fall a bit differently.  A fairly active adult may be doing exercises in the home and fall into the couch to catch a breather.  Is this a fall? Will this set off the device?  It’s a very tough thing to perfect.  But for our wish list, we’d like the option of fall detection that really works.

5.  The best medical alert systems should have communication options in the case of an emergency

What I mean is… Who do you want your PERS (personal emergency response system) to call if you depress the button?  Do you want this device to call a loved one?  Do you want it toOneCall speaker 150x150 Top 5 Features Of A Modern Medical Alert System ring a call center?  Do you want it to dial 911 directly?  These are all options of one or more of these medical alert systems.  We’d like to have the option to program this device to ring a family member AND a call center (in that order).  If it’s a minor emergency, I’d rather speak to a loved one.  If that loved one can’t be reached or they can’t reach me… It’s forwarded to the call center for possible dispatch.  Also, since this is a wish list we like the idea of a mini speaker phone built into our pendant or wristband.

So that’s it… Not to much to ask is it?  What did we miss?  What do you want to see on your ideal medical alert system?  Let us know in your comments below!

Do Your Research Before Buying A Medical Alert System

OneCall speaker Do Your Research Before Buying A Medical Alert SystemWhen consumers are faced with purchasing a medical alert system for a family member, they are typically in crisis mode, and generally prone to making rash decisions.  Don’t fall into this oh-so-common trap.  The Senior List is full of horror stories about folks that are trapped into long-term contracts, or faced with equipment that won’t function properly.  Before buying a medical alert system, it’s important that you DO YOUR RESEARCH.    Don’t think you can just jump on a particular brand and make a quick decision.  You might get lucky, but I don’t like those odds for most folks (and certainly not for our readers).

4 things you need to know before buying a medial alert system:

  1. What medical alert system options are out there?
  2. How reliable is the medical alert system?
  3. Is it easy to install and use?
  4. How much does it cost?

Let’s tackle each of these topics together so that you have a (more) solid base of understanding, and can make more informed choices down the road.

What medical alert system options are out there?

There are a lot of options out there, but the 2 biggest considerations here are;  Whether you need a traditional in-home (uses a home phone line) alert system, or a mobile (cellular based) medical alert system.

The traditional in-home medical alert systems utilize the home phone line, and the pendant alert buttons work like old cordless phones.  When depressed they communicate with a base station, and that base station makes the call (in case of emergency).  Most of these traditional pendant type medical alert systems work well, and have adequate coverage for an average size home.  Many of the pendants can be worn in the shower, and most have good battery lives.  These traditional options usually cost a little bit less than their cellular based cousins.

The mobile (cellular) based medical alert systems seem to be getting a lot of attention lately.  These have the range of a typical cell phone, and typically targeted at the more mobile  users.  These options are a little more functional but also carry a little more of a price tag on them.

Our advice:  If your loved one is not mobile and almost always in the home environment, a traditional pendant style medical alert is just fine.  If they get out to walk, garden, shop, or spend time with friends away from home, go with a mobile option.

How reliable is the medical alert system?

Well reliability is an interesting question, because frankly these medical alert systems aren’t (or shouldn’t be) complex.  You should ask about battery life, water resistance, range, average response times, and read the reviews of medical alert systems that you’re considering.  Generally if you go with a reputable company, they’ll take care of you.  If you don’t do your research and get stuck with someone that won’t back-up their product, you’re in trouble.

Our advice:  Take this list of questions you should be asking each medical alert provider and use it accordingly. (Pass this list on to anyone that can use it.  We hate seeing folks get burned!)

Is the medical alert system easy to install and use?

You’d think these things would be intuitive enough to set-up, test, and use… but in some cases they’re just not.  Take a look at the Verizon SureResponse Medical Alert System Reviews.  A quick read of the reviews tells you all you need to know.  We recommend you check other sources in addition to The Senior List, but yikes… These guys need to get it together.  Stick with manufacturers that will work with you if something goes wrong.

Our advice:  Make sure you don’t sign a long-term commitment until you’re 100% comfortable doing so.  IF a month-to-month is a bit more expensive but you’re still unsure.  Take it for a test drive, and consider it insurance (against making a bad medical alert call).

How much does it cost?

Traditional pendant style medical alert systems are going to run you between $20-$40 dollars per month.  I wouldn’t be paying more than $29 per month if I had minimal needs.  For cellular based models be prepared to pay just a bit more than the in-home models. Be advised that GreatCall has a nice mobile option that starts at $19 per month.  You don’t need to spend a lot to get what you need.  You just need to do your research!

Our advice:  In the end make sure you follow our top 3 rules when considering medical alert systems:  Research in advance, ask a lot of questions, and don’t get stuck with a long-term contract that you can’t afford or don’t want!

Medical Alert System Satisfaction Ratings

The Senior List surveyed medical alert system subscribers and found that customer satisfaction results are mixed (at best).  The survey which spanned late 2013 to February of 2014 illustrated how vulnerable medical alert providers are to competition in this space.  A full third of respondents noted that when their agreement (contract) was up, they were leaving their current provider.  This is in stark contrast to 18% of respondents that said they were very satisfied, and they would recommend their medical alert provider.  Key takeaway: There are some really good medical alert providers… and some to stay away from.

Medical Alert System Poll Medical Alert System Satisfaction RatingsThe medical alert landscape is changing.  This industry is going digital and mobile.  An industry that once tethered users to within 600 feet of the home (base station), has grown wings.  What was once dubbed “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” has now morphed into “I’m going shopping, but just in case I’ll take my medical alert system along”.

A number of manufacturers now monitor their users via a cellular signal just like the phone in your pocket.  This allows family members a safety-net in case of emergencies.  Another nice feature of cellular based medical alert systems is that they have built in GPS tracking to locate users if needed.

If you’re interested in the good, the bad, and the ugly of medical alert systems make yourself familiar with the comments section while you browse through our product reviews.  Folks here aren’t afraid to speak up… Especially if they’re not happy. Keep this in mind when you’re taking in comments from any product review site however.  Folks expect providers to at least meet expectations, and when they don’t, there can be a backlash.

What’s interesting (and telling) is to see the response (or lack thereof) by providers after a misstep.  Quality medical alert providers are transparent, responsive and fair to their customers.  Stay away from the ones that are rigid, secretive and unresponsive.

Lesson learned:  Do your homework.  Ask the right questions.  Know your rights.  Read the fine print.

5 Tips on Choosing A Medical Alert System Provider

OneCall alert 5 Tips on Choosing A Medical Alert System ProviderThe folks at OneCall Medical Alert reached out to The Senior List on Twitter and asked us to share some information regarding one of our favorite topics.  That topic: “How to Choose A Personal Emergency Response System” (also known as a medical alert system).  They offer some good advice that’s worth sharing.  Weather you’re choosing a mobile medical alert system or a traditional (in-home) style medical alert system, you’ll want to make sure that the provider can answer the following questions (special thanks to the folks at OneCall):

Choosing a Medical Alert System Provider

    1. Is the provider accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?  The BBB’s mission is “to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.”  The BBB says they “see trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.”  That said, there are a whole lot of businesses that have high ratings on the BBB, and just like any directory site you can’t take it as the gospel.  You’ve go to look around at other reputable review sites like Angie’s List and (of course) The Senior List.
    2. Are you locked into a long-term contract?  We agree with the folks at OneCall.  Unless you absolutely trust the medical alert provider you decide to choose, don’t sign a long-term contract!  There are plenty of reputable providers out there that don’t push these silly contracts.  Companies like GreatCall, Philips Lifeline and OneCall are good examples of no-contract alert systems. (*Note that OneCall does require 3 months of prepaid service at activation.)
    3. Does the medical alert provider have multiple emergency call centers? This is probably a good question to ask, but more importantly how dependable is the call center? If you search around for medical alert system reviews, you’ll probably receive some feedback on this topic.  OneCall says that you should also “ask where their emergency call center is located, if they have more than one emergency call center, and if a contingency plan is in place in case a call center is shut down” (because of a storm or other natural disaster).  These are great questions!
    4. Is the system easy to set up and test?  You’ll want to be clear on how to set up the device in your home, AND how to test it (on a regular basis).  Medical alert systems are not doing you any good if they aren’t in good working order.  Further inquiries need to be made regarding maintenance (batteries need to be tested and/or replaced,coverage area needs to be tested and retested, etc.).
    5. Does the provider have flexible payment options?  Most top providers do have options (monthly, quarterly, annual) but regardless of your payment option, make sure you understand what the implications are if your loved one decides to leave the provider (for another), or is no longer in need of the medical alert system (perhaps they move into a care facility, or they pass away).

These are great questions and tips on choosing a medical alert system provider.  We’d recommend these questions in conjunction with our popular post entitled Medical Alert Systems: The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying.

Know Before You Go - It will save you one heck of a headache!

Philips GoSafe Medical Alert Systems Delayed

Philips GoSafe 300x210 Philips GoSafe Medical Alert Systems DelayedBack in June we wrote about the delayed launch of Philips new flagship medical alert system called GoSafe.  We wrote:

“The new Philips GoSafe product is the latest in a line of newer mobile medical alert systems which uses the same cellular signal as your cell phone.  Instead of being tethered to a home phone-line, the consumer can take these new devices with them wherever they go (out to work in the yard, to the mall, or to a doctor’s appointment).  This new mobility feature is what separates the new mobile devices from their traditional (tethered) cousins.” — The Senior List.com

Earlier this year, Philip’s representatives told The Senior List to expect a commercial launch of Philips GoSafe Medical Alert System around fall of 2013.  Now Philips tells us GoSafe will launch sometime around December of this year.  We aren’t sure what the delay is, but these things occur all the time in the medical device industry.  Frankly, you’re better off getting it right (before getting out of the gate) when you have a product launch of this magnitude.  You only get one chance at a national (or global) launch.  All Philips has to do is look at Big Red (Verizon Wireless) to see how to screw-up the national launch of a much anticipated new medical alert system (we’re talking about you SureResponse).  Someone once said “better to be safe than sorry”… We’re guessing Philips is taking this to heart, and wants to get it right the first time.

In advance of the launch, Philips has been putting together some marketing resources including this video (below).  We’re actually excited for this entry into the mobile medical alert system market.  The GoSafe has all the makings of brand-leader if Philips executes on their marketing strategy, AND focuses on customer satisfaction.

We’ll keep an eye on this sector as it continues to evolve.  We’re guessing the best is yet to come when it comes to safety for seniors outside the home.  The GoSafe might just be the best of the bunch, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Medical Alert System Ratings and Reviews

eCare+Voice Medical Alert System Ratings and ReviewsIf you’ve visited The Senior List before you know that we love to post about technology, and how it affects the lives of boomers and seniors.  One way we do this is through product reviews, and another is through informative posts about the latest happenings in eldercare.  Some of the most interesting information comes from YOU (The Senior List community).  When readers become engaged, the comments come alive.  When the comments come alive, we can all relate and learn from each other.  Our community loves to share information when it relates to medical alert system ratings and reviews, and we’ve got all the top systems rated here on The Senior List.

Top Home Based Medical Alert Systems

One example of this is a popular post we wrote back in 2012, highlighting many of the top home based medical alert systems on the market.  That particular post offers a nice list of “tethered” (to a traditional home phone line) medical alert systems, with links to product reviews.  What is really interesting is the feedback in the comments located below that article.  There’s a lot of great information located on that page, and we’d like to thank those of you that have shared your experiences.  One of our chief goals is to continue to build a community that offers advice to others… A helping hand if you will!

“When readers become engaged, the comments come alive.  When the comments come alive, we can all relate and learn from each other.”

List of Mobile/Cellular Based Medical Alert Systems

If you’re searching for a list of mobile medical alert systems (cellular based), you’ll find that here on The Senior List as well.  We’ve reviewed a number of the top alert systems for seniors SureResponse lanyard Medical Alert System Ratings and Reviewsincluding GreatCall’s 5Star, the LifeTrac SecuraTrac, and the SureResponse from Verizon.  We’d like to encourage our readers to utilize the comments to voice your opinion following each post if you are so inclined.  In doing so, you’ll be providing feedback to others that could prove extremely valuable in their search for the right fit (and function) for any of the devices we discuss here on The Senior List.  Don’t forget to offer praise where it’s due either, there are a number of fantastic medical alert system providers out there offering great services to boomers and seniors.

If you (or someone you know) is currently using a medical alert system, we encourage you to take our Medical Alert System Customer Satisfaction Poll (located in the right hand side-bar).  Have a great weekend!

Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System

SureResponse lanyard Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert SystemLatest Product Review: Sure Response Needs More Product Support

The Verizon Sure Response medical alert system is one of the newer medical alert systems on the market today. This entry has great features in this space, HOWEVER Verizon’s execution of the Sure Response Medical Alert System so far has been far from satisfactory. The SureResponse is mobile/cellular driven, offers GPS tracking, and can connect your loved ones to caregivers (or family members) if necessary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an updated product review based on feedback from users in our community. Click here to read the original SureResponse review and note the community comments.   You’ll note in this original that we stated that we’d “be looking forward to monitoring their success with this mobile medical alert system” and (with your feedback), many now have a new outlook on this device.  We do expect Verizon to improve their support of this product in the future.

Product Info: Sure Response Medical Alert

  • Name: Verizon SureResponse
  • Website Info: Verizon Wireless – SureResponse
  • Auto Fall Detection? : Nodocking station Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System
  • Equipment Cost: $229.99 (retail) OR 19.99 with a 2 year plan (note: early termination fees will apply)
  • Monthly Cost: $30 per device (also requires a $35 activation fee)
  • Features: Lanyard, Wrist Strap and Belt Clip Accessories Included, Water Resistant Panic Buttons, Untethered 24/7 Monitoring on a Cellular Network (Verizon Wireless), GPS Tracking (must be enabled and shared/volunteered), Convenience Calling, and an Online Portal to help manage lists of caregivers etc. (called SureResponse Online)

Review: SureResponse Medical Alert System from Verizon

wearable emergency device Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert SystemAs we noted above, Verizon’s SureResponse mobile emergency response system looks great, and has the financial backing of a leading mobile provider.  It stands to reason that this device should be at the top of our list when it comes to mobile medical alert systems but thus far, the support for the product hasn’t been there.  We like the form factor but it looks bulky on the wrist (uncomfortable) and we doubt many people would want to wear it there unless it gets much smaller. It’s bigger than traditional pendant alert systems, but it does more than they do.  If a pendant option is chosen, it may look like your loved one is wearing a small cell phone around their neck. We’re guessing this will be worn on the belt clip or kept in a pocket, although from an accessibility standpoint we do like a pendant option. This device lacks fall detection, but then again so do the others in this space (at this time). We probably wouldn’t trust this device in the shower. Until Verizon discloses a little more about just how water resistant the SureResponse is, we’d keep it out of the water.

OK now for the good stuff… From a product standpoint, we think this looks like a great option.  If (or when) the company gets their act together (and gives it the support it requires), it could be a great product.  The ability to be UNTETHERED is something that many folks are looking for (especially at comparable price points to tethered solutions). It’s backed by a reputable company with relatively transparent terms and conditions.  Also the (optional) GPS tracking is a nice feature on these cellular based medical alert systems.  If the Verizon tracking feature is not activated, it is only used in the case of an emergency (so emergency personnel can locate the person in need). Here’s another item worth mentioning- if your loved one needs to go into a nursing facility (under the existing terms and conditions) they ARE eligible to opt out of their 2 year agreement. There are specific details associated with this “second right to cancel” so read the T’s & C’s carefully.

The Bottom Line:

We want to see more from Verizon in terms of product support.  The Senior List even reached out to Verizon (back in March) in hopes that they’d respond to customer issues/inquiries but we’ve heard nothing.  Given this is new to the market and new to Verizon, we’re going to take a wait and see approach.  If we’re talking about the same support issues a year from now, we might as well scratch this one off the list.  We still think the SureResponse by Verizon is worth looking into. If Verizon supports the product like they should, it will be near the top of our list of mobile options.  For now, we’ll put them on our watch list.

verizon wireless tweet2 Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System

verizon wireless tweet1 Updated Review: The Verizon Sure Response Medical Alert System

Click here to read the original SureResponse Review and note user comments

If you’ve used the SureResponse Medical Alert System or know someone who has, please give us your opinion in the comment section below and provide a star rating!

Video:

Read More:

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Medical Alert Systems: Products and Reviews

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The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Medical Alert System

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Rating: 2.6/5 (29 votes cast)

Medical Alert Industry Going Digital

iWatch 300x249 Medical Alert Industry Going DigitalIf you or a family member is wearing a traditional (tethered to your land-line based telephone) medical alert system, you probably won’t be in a few years.  You see times they are a changing.  Traditional land-line based telephone systems are becoming a thing of the past… And those land-line based medical alert systems (think “I’ve fallen and I can’t  get up”) will be pushed out of the way by newer digital mobile devices.  It’s actually happening right now… The medical alert industry is changing before our very eyes! ResponseLink 150x150 Medical Alert Industry Going DigitalThe landscape in this market is changing at a rapid pace.  Traditional form factors like the iconic pendant buttons could also be replaced.  Did you know that there are medical alert apps out there for the iPhone and for Android devices?  Wearable digital devices are the new rage.  Think the new iWatch won’t have a medical alert app?  Think again… The innovators out there (the companies that will lead this space) have already begun to go mobile.  GreatCall, Philips and MobileHelp have already been leaning in this direction, and I’m guessing there are more innovators out there preparing to enter this space. The Senior List recently published a profile of 5 cellular based medical alert system providers currently on the market.  There are 2 additional cell based medical alert systems scheduled to launch this fall.  One from Philips Lifeline and from MobileHelp.  Further “change agents” will see this market as ripe for innovation, and it should prove very interesting to follow.

2013 Medical Alert Scams Targets Seniors

Here at The Senior List we’ve been tweeting about the recent Medical Alert Scams, and warning folks about robo-callers trolling for your personal information (AND your money).  Reports from all over the country indicate this practice has not only continued, but it’s growing!  Here’s the scam… An automated message rings your phone and indicates that someone has purchased a medical alert system for you.  The message further indicates that the device is free, and ready to be sent to your home.  All the consumer needs to do is press “1″ on their touch tone keypad.  If someone does indeed fall for the scam,  a slimy telemarketer comes on the line and attempts to steal your personal data and your credit card information.

This deceiving practice is so pervasive, it recently hit one of our readers.  Take a look at what Maryann has been dealing with first hand (click the comment box to see the string live)!  Special thanks to Maryann for alerting us.

Medical Alert Scam 2013 Medical Alert Scams Targets Seniors

Numerous news organizations are now reporting on this medical alert scam including AARP and the Medical Alert Monitoring Association.  If you receive these calls, the best thing you can do is immediately hang up (don’t press #1, and don’t wait on the line).  Anytime you receive an unsolicited call from a so-called provider, immediately hang up.  Also, anytime you hear the word “free” you should be wary and (you guessed it) hang up.  As my Papa used to tell me… “Nothing is free in this life!”

IF you’ve already made the mistake of speaking to one of the con-artists (oh I mean associates), you’ll likely receive follow-up calls because they’re now aware of a working number with a heart beat on the end of the line.  You can Ignore the follow up calls.  If you are so inclined, you can report the fraudulent activity to a number of sources including your local Better Business Bureau (local agencies usually have senior fraud prevention/reporting programs), your State Attorney General’s office, and/or the Medical Alert Monitoring Association at 1-866-388-8618.

Update: If you’d like to hear what one of these medical alert scams sounds like listen up right here: Medical Alert Scam Robocall Recording