Prescription Drug Card Fraud Alert - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: Kristen Eve, 11/08/03, 3:53pm

Prescription Drug Card Fraud Alert

Medical costs are on the rise and fraudulent telemarketers are taking advantage! They're targeting people who spend the most on prescription drugs: the elderly.

"I have one prescription drug," said Dorthea Papandrea. "Last month it was $146 and now it's $160, and that is every month. That's just for one drug, I'm currently taking nine."

Papandrea spends about $300 dollars each month on her prescription drugs. She jumped at the offer for a discount prescription drug card promising to save her hundreds of dollars.

"It was a win-win situation according to them." she said. "Because if I couldn't use the plan or it wasn't going to be a benefit to me I could get a complete refund."

But as it turns out, the card was a fraud offering price cuts on drugs her pharmacist was already discounting. The company then refused to refund the $340 they had taken from her checking account.

"They used to be calling about credit cards," said Richard Cleland with the Federal Trade Commission. "Now they're calling about discount medical cards. But the scam is pretty much the same."

According to the FTC, these scams are becoming more common and older consumers seem to be the main target.

"Older persons are often paying hundreds of dollars a month for prescription drugs and they are desperate to find ways to save money." said John Rother with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

In Dorothea's case the company promised her a free 30-day trial period with no obligations. A promise she now admits was too good to be true.

"And if someone says they're going to save you money, you're definitely going to look into it. Just be a little more careful than I was."

Click here for a link to the FTC fact sheet on bogus medical discount plans.

For more resources on fraud, visit the AARP's web site.

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