AARP warns of medical alert scam targeting seniors - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

AARP warns of medical alert scam targeting seniors

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A scam targeting the elderly is making the rounds, and the callers are using a name that many people trust – AARP.

Jere McGarr, of Hermitage, got a phone call that sounded suspicious.

"You are eligible for a free device from AARP," McGarr said the caller told him.

The caller wanted to send him a free medical alert device.

"[The caller said] 'the device has been approved by your doctor and we just need some information so we can mail it to you,'" McGarr said.

But none of that is true.

AARP's Tennessee office said the callers are not in any way associated with AARP, and AARP has sent out an alert, warning that this is a scam.

"Like most scams, they're trying to get your credit card information or other financial information that they can then use to take your money," said Alan Sparkman, who serves on the executive council for AARP Tennessee.

McGarr didn't fall into the potential trap.

He asked the person on the other end of the line for a call-back number, but the one she gave him was bogus, McGarr said. It had too many digits.

"She kind of faltered and then added two digits, right quick," McGarr said.

AARP advises you to hang up on unsolicited offers.

They also say not to believe a claim that a product won't cost you because you have insurance. Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance companies typically don't pay for medical alert devices.

And AARP says don't respond to offers to "opt out" of future calls. You're just alerting callers they reached a working number.

McGarr worries that scams like this prey on seniors.

"I would say be very skeptical of any phone call or solicitation of any kind, unless you know the source," McGarr said.

AARP has a newly-created Fraud Watch Network, where people can stay up-to-date on the latest scams. For more information, visit: http://www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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