BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A phony company claiming to be associated with popular medical alert buttons, like MedicAlert and LifeAlert, is taking advantage of senior citizens.
Everyone is familiar with LifeAlert's famous slogan: "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up." That's why when a telemarketer called about a LifeAlert emergency medical device, Betty and Raymond Klopfle didn't need an explanation. The caller told Betty someone had already bought her the pendant but she had to pay for a monthly subscription.
"He says, 'What is your birthday?' I said, 'It is 7-5-40.' He says, 'See you are in the early stages of Alzheimer's.' The early stages of Alzheimer's?" Betty said.
Just in the past few weeks, seniors across the country are reporting these calls, which seem to be part of a scam. And the motive seems to be identity theft.
Bob Jones from the Acadiana Better Business Bureau in Louisiana told News 4 some seniors have given up personal information, such as credit card numbers, and the bureau helps them contact the credit reporting agencies to get out of trouble.
"We immediately have them call the Transunion fraud alert assistance, and report it to them. That way they will flag the Social Security numbers, so that further identity theft can't happen," Jones said.
And it isn't just seniors who fell prey to this scam. LifeAlert is suing two companies in federal court, accusing them of fraud and using their famous slogan and brand name to scam seniors.
LifeAlert issued this press release:
LifeAlert has protected the elderly for over 25 years. As the founder and industry leader in the personal emergency response systems for the elderly, LifeAlert saves a life from a catastrophe every 11 minutes. Therefore, LifeAlert would like the public to know that it has filed a lawsuit against those involved in impersonating LifeAlert through scam phone calls to senior citizens, and then lying and manipulating them into providing personal and financial information. The named defendants include LifeWatch Inc. and Connect America. com, LLC (aka Medical Alert) two companies that purport to be legitimate providers of personal emergency response systems.
The perpetrators of these phone scams were successful because of their use of LifeAlert's famous brand name, slogan and reputation. As a result of their actions, thousands of senior citizens were scammed nationwide and tremendous damage was caused to LifeAlert. The C.E.O. of LifeWatch, Evan Sirlin, and the Chairman of Connect America, Kenneth Gross, were also named as defendants for their involvement with the scam phone calls.
We hope that this lawsuit will punish the responsible parties and prevent other companies from buying fraudulent contracts. LifeAlert will sue any company that impersonates and/or illegally uses its registered trademarks, and hopes that this action will end the nationwide unsolicited, illegal, automated calls that are misleading and scamming our senior citizens.
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