UPDATE: Possible Phone Scam Calls Continue
CREATED May. 7, 2013
UPDATE: We first reported on these calls to Valley residents last week. We're still receiving calls and emails that these calls are continuing.
We've learned of a possible phone scam targeting seniors here in the valley.
We've received a couple of emails about it, including one from Ellen Ignatius in Rancho Mirage
She wrote, "You may want to investigate a robo call that is going around that tells the person called there is a free emergency response machine waiting to be delivered to the person's home.... What they don't tell you is there is a monthly service charge for anyone who gets this delivered."
Both people who contacted us received the calls Monday, and both of them live in Rancho Mirage.
They worry that seniors will end up buying a product they don't realize they'll have to pay for.
The recording says, "I was calling to schedule the delivery of your medical alert system, it's the fallen and I can't get up type of system you've seen on TV."
Ellen Ignatius replayed the message twice.
"Because I literally was thinking, oh someone bought me that, why would they buy that for me?"
A few miles away, Dr. Joshua Levin had a similar phone call.
"I had been approved for a life alert and the credit card had been approved, and we just needed to confirm the shipping, and you weren't able to stop it so that's when you realized it was a recorded outgoing message," said Joshua.
The recording went on to say, "To have your system shipped out to you, press one now, press five to decline the shipment of your system."
Ellen saved the message and played it for us.
She was suspicious, especially because her husband worked as an anti-fraud director.
"Realizing this is a fraud, this is a scam, and they're going to ship this to people, and once they open it, they're going to be liable," said Ellen.
Joshua believed the message was targeting his parents, so he called back the number.
"She assured me that it would be removed, but that it might still continue for a month, and I told her that was unacceptable, and if I received another call that I would report it to the local district attorney's office," said Joshua.
So we called the number both Ellen and Joshua gave us.
A company calling themselves a medical alarm company answered, but when asked if the message could be recorded, they stopped talking.
We called back a second time, and had the same result.
"I know a lot of elderly people don't have anyone to help them, they don't know what to do, they become afraid, and sometimes these companies can be vicious," said Ellen.
So Ellen wants to warn others, so people don't get trapped in a deal they didn't bargain for.
We spoke with the the Riverside County District Attorney's office and California's Department of Consumer Affairs.
They both said people should hang up on suspicious calls, and never give out financial information on the phone instead ask for everything in writing.
And never be pressured into a one-time-only type of offer, they are most likely scams.