The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 8, 2013

‘Free’ security system just $30 a month

By Joanne Arbogast
The Daily Item

MIDDLEBURG — Anyone who has elderly relatives living on their own fears an accident happening and their loved one unable to get help.

Most people are also well aware of personal emergency response systems on the market aimed at calming those type of fears.

When retiree Dianne G., of Middleburg, received an automated call this past week saying the family was eligible for a free medical alert system, she listened.

But when she was prompted to press 1 for more information, she questioned why she had received the call and hung up.

“Why would they be calling me? And why was the system being offered free of charge?” she wondered, perhaps second-guessing her decision to hang up.

She didn’t have to wonder for very long. In a matter of days, she received the identical “robo” call at least three more times. Each time, she hung up, growing more annoyed because she had registered her phone number on the Do Not Call list.

“I am just concerned,” she said, “that other people around here may be getting the same call.”

According to others who have received similar calls, if you press 1 “to verify” as instructed, you will reach a “technician” who will confirm you will receive the costly alert system at no charge.

A sample pitch

Automated phone calls for free medical alert systems are circulating and they prey on your fears of needing emergency help. You don’t want to fall for it. Here’s an example of what you may hear:

If you’re a senior citizen, or know somebody that is a senior citizen that may be in need, please listen closely to the following information. Each year there has been a significant rise in the number of senior citizens suffering death and serious life-threatening injuries from a delay in response times from medical emergencies, fires, burglaries or even just a simple fall. The American Heart Association and American Diabetic Association are urging all seniors to get a personal life-saving emergency medical alert system for their home. For the first time, we are providing senior citizens with this life-saving emergency medical alert equipment at no charge to seniors “

All you have to do is agree to a monthly maintenance bill of around $29.99.