The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 21, 2013

Scam Alert: Sharp Trevorton senior skirts $3G food bait

By Joanne Arbogast

The Daily Item

TREVORTON — Valley senior citizens last spring were being warned of a robocall phone scam in which medical-alert devices were being offered to them at no charge, or that a free alert system had been purchased for them. The end result was the same — at some point, they would be asked for personal information and a credit-card number.

That scam now has a new twist with fresh bait that John D., 72, of Trevorton, almost bit on.

“We get a lot of these kind of calls,” he said, “but I wasn’t sure if this one was a scam or not.”

The robocalls are coming from an organization calling itself the official-sounding National Senior Assistance program, and is not only offering a free medical-alert bracelet, but $3,000 in “food savings certificates” for those 60 years and older.

The Better Business Bureau ( reports the message goes something like this: “You now qualify under the new National Senior Assistance Program to receive $3,000 in free grocery savings certificates that can be used at hundreds of major grocery chains ... In addition, you’ll receive a free emergency medical-alert bracelet or necklace. This medical-alert device is designed to save your life if you ever experience a fall or other emergency...”

To receive this “risk-free offer,” all one has to do is press 1 to speak with a representative.

These type of calls or emails are called “phishing” —  an attempt to defraud someone of financial information by posing as a legitimate company.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, “the vast majority of calls that deliver a prerecorded message trying to sell you something are illegal, unless you’ve given written permission for the caller to contact you. These robocalls are illegal even if your phone number is not registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.

“Most legitimate businesses adhere to the Telemarketing Sales Rule and do not place illegal robocalls,” the FTC reports. “Unfortunately, however, the prevalence of illegal robocalls has increased significantly in recent years due to technological advances that make it easier and cheaper to make large numbers of robocalls to consumers from anywhere in the world; and fake caller ID information in an attempt to obscure location and evade law enforcement.”

The FTC is working on multiple initiatives aimed at combating the problem of illegal robocalls.

There is no information available about a “new National Senior Assistance Program,” but there are plenty of reports from around the country of people receiving these calls.

The Better Business Bureau strongly urges you not to press any buttons but rather just hang up.

John D. hung up, but thought other seniors should be warned. The lure of free groceries, especially to those on limited budgets, can be very tempting.

“There are other people,” he said, “who are going to fall for this.”

n Email comments to

Text Only
  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

  • Report: Pennsylvania forests impacted by drilling

    PITTSBURGH — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

    April 18, 2014

  • TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Route 45 east of Montandon

    MONTANDON — A paving project is slowing traffic today on Route 45 east of Montandon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Accident victims remain in critical condition this morning

    DANVILLE - Victims from serious traffic accidents the past two days remain in critical condition this morning at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

    April 18, 2014

  • Porn prank riles Bucknell University president

    LEWISBURG — A fake email that contained a link to a pornographic website was sent to Bucknell students, faculty and staff on Tuesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • 28-mile cross walk steps off in Northumberland

    SUNBURY — Two “cross walks” this morning, including a 28-mile trek from Northumberland to Beaver Springs, are among the highlights of Easter activities and services in the Valley.

    April 18, 2014

  • rsstrike18a.jpg Picketing begins at four Danville schools

    DANVILLE — It started like any other school day during the year, with teachers up early and arriving at school at 7:30 in the morning.


    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Line Mountain board, teachers to talk Tuesday

    MANDATA — Line Mountain school board President Troy Laudenslager is far more optimistic this week than he has been as the board and the Line Mountain Education Association head into their first contract negotiation session in three months.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.