Medical Alert Scam Targeted at Seniors Halted, Business Has Assets Frozen
A federal judge, prompted by the Federal Trade Commission and the attorney general of Florida, has halted the operations of scammers who target seniors with a “free” Medical Alert Scam.
According to the FTC, the Orlando-based operation is called Credit Voice, and uses robocalls – illegal in the state of Florida – to target senior citizens. The Medical Alert scam claims that a friend or relative has purchased a medical alert device for the victim, and that the service has been endorsed by several health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the National Institute for the Aging. The Medical Alert scam claims that the victim will not be charged for until the device is installed or activated, and when the victim agrees to receive the device, they are quickly asked for their social security number and their credit card information. The victim is then promptly charged $34.99 a month, regardless of whether the device has been activated.
The FTC says that some 66,000 people nationwide have filed complaints about the Medical Alert scam. Both the FTC and the Office of the Florida Attorney General are seeking a court order to permanently ban the defendants from operation in order to get restitution for the victims.
More than 100 employees that worked for the company have been accused in the Medical Alert scam, according to the FTC. The official complaint lists more than 10 Florida-based companies, and 3 individuals.
“They lied about the product, about whether health organizations had endorsed it and about its cost,” said Jessica Rich, director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Their M.O. was to take advantage of older people’s concerns about their health.”
The Medical Alert scam has reportedly earned the company $13 million in commissions since March 2012.
Medical Alert, Medicare, and Senior Citizen Scams Threaten Seniors’ Social Security Income
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, healthcare fraud costs the United States an estimated $80 billion per year. As the costs of healthcare go up, and national healthcare spending surpasses $2.7 trillion, it is more important than ever to report Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare fraud.
Here are some scams to watch out for that might make you, your insurance company, or Medicare/Medicaid, the victims of healthcare fraud:
- Medical Equipment Fraud: Equipment manufacturers offer “free” products to individuals. Insurers are then charged for products that were not needed and/or may not have been delivered.
- “Rolling Lab” Schemes: Unnecessary and sometimes fake tests are given to individuals at health clubs, retirement homes, or shopping malls and billed to insurance companies or Medicare.
- Services Not Performed: Customers or providers bill insurers for services never rendered by changing bills or submitting fake ones.
Senior citizens can be particularly vulnerable to Medicare fraud, as many elderly people have long-term health problems, and rely on social services like Medicare to provide their care.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Medical Alert Scams and Device Fraud
Healthcare scammers, whether a Medicare fraud scam or medical device fraud such as the Medical Alert scam, often target senior citizens because Social Security is steady income, and health problems including dementia can make this vulnerable population an easy target. In order to help the government provide the best possible services, Medicaid and Medicare fraud must be reported as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexity of qui tam and whistleblower suits, and we offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today.803.252.4800