Medical Device Scam

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The New York State Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection is alerting consumers to recent reports of medical device scams targeting seniors using unsolicited prerecorded messages, also known as "robocalls." These 'robocalls' offer free medical alert devices along with money saving coupons.

The robocalls display many different numbers on the caller ID. When answered, the pre-recorded message urges consumers to press 1 to get their free device by providing their address and credit card, or to press 5 to opt out of future calls. However, pressing 5 will alert the scammers that they have reached a working phone number which they can use for future scam calls. Pressing 1 will put the consumer through to a live operator who will use scare tactics in order to get the personal and financial information from the consumer. They try to convince seniors that their health is in danger and need the medical device. Some scammers will entice consumers with bogus coupon offers or say that they are calling on behalf of AARP in order to get the consumer's information.

Follow these tips to avoid this type of scam:

• Hang up, without pressing any key.

• If you take the call, identify who is calling and what company they represent. Make sure to get an address and a phone number for the business.

• Never provide personal or financial information over the phone, including your name, address, date of birth, or Medicare and Social Security numbers.

• Even though the displayed phone numbers may be fake, you should report the phone numbers on your caller ID to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-888-382-1222.

• Contact your telephone service provider and request to block robocall numbers. Avoid paying for this protection, as caller ID-displayed numbers are changed frequently.

• Remember that AARP does not ask for personal information, conduct financial transactions, or promote commercial activities over the phone.

For more information regarding identity theft prevention and mitigation, please contact the New York Department of State, Division of Consumer Protection at (518)-474-8583