Special to HNN Provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned that more than 200 Ohioans have reported unsolicited phone calls offering medical alert devices this year. About 40 percent of those calls were reported last month alone. Consumers who respond to the calls risk losing money or jeopardizing their personal information.

 

“These calls have been circulating throughout the country, and we’re seeing more Ohioans filing complaints,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The most important thing to remember is not to respond to suspicious calls in any way. Don’t give out your credit card number or bank account information, and don’t press any buttons. Just hang up.”

 

Typically, the call is a prerecorded message saying the consumer is eligible for a free medical alert system or that someone bought an alert device for the consumer. The message may ask the consumer to “press one” to schedule the delivery or press another button to decline. Consumers who respond to the calls may be connected to a live representative who likely will ask for a bank account number, credit card number, or other personal information. Later consumers may receive charges for the “free” system.

 

Consumers also have reported Medicare card scams, in which callers claim to represent Medicare and say the consumer needs a new Medicare card. The caller asks for the consumer’s bank account information or Social Security number to process and fulfill the new card. In reality, the caller does not represent Medicare.

Scammers often try to take advantage of what's in the news, and with the upcoming health care changes involving the Affordable Care Act, these kinds of scams may become more common.

 

Attorney General DeWine offers consumers the following tips to protect themselves:

 

 

Contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov for help or to report a scam.