COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned residents Friday about recent reports of unsolicited phone calls offering medical alert devices that are part of an attempt to collect personally identifying information.
DeWine's office received more than 200 complaints from Ohioans this year about unsolicited phone calls offering the devices, and approximately 40 percent of the calls were reported last month alone. Consumers responding to the calls could risk losing money or compromising their personal information.
"These calls have been circulating throughout the country, and we're seeing more Ohioans filing complaints," 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."
The call is usually a pre-recorded message that says the consumer is eligible for a free medical alert system or that someone else purchased an alert device for the consumer. Consumers who respond to the calls may be connected to a live representative who then asks for a credit card number, bank account number or other personal information. Consumers may then receive charges for the purportedly free system.
Some Ohioans reported Medicare card scams, in which callers claim to represent Medicare and say the consumer requires a new Medicare card. The caller requests the consumer's bank account information or Social Security number to process and fulfill the card. In actuality, the caller does not represent Medicare.
Scammers may also try to take advantage of what's in the news, including the upcoming healthcare changes related to the Affordable Care Act.