Medical Alert Link
Mom, 91, listens to TV a lot. Her TV friends are more real than most others as when one lives to be that old, most of your friends have passed on and your relatives have spread far and wide and have lives of their own.
One of the high pressure ads is the medical alert systems where an old person has fallen and presses a button and gets help. Just call an 800 number and sign up. Many ads come directly through the mail too, likely from mailing lists sold by charities that prey on the elderly.
Mom sent in a card, got a high pressure pitch to sign up for $35 per month system located in Pennsylvania and did with the bill to come in the mail.
After talking to Jennie, her neighbor who is 96, her only regular visitor other than her 3 sons, she changed her mind and tried to call back and cancel. The high pressure salesman, Chris Corsant (?) talked her into giving her bank account number and signing up for more months instead of cancelling.
Jennie scolded mom for giving out her bank account, and that is where Mom brought brother Marv into the process (who brought in Ev and me). We were unable to reach a person with the phone number. Messages left were ignored. Oh Oh, one of those scams to get your bank account number and run it dry.
The device (rented by the monthly fee of $35) came in the mail by UPS. We told mom to not accept it. It was just dropped off without her knowledge on the porch. I took it to UPS and "refused delivery."
That happened 2 times. Marv had the $99.25 initial charge stopped at the bank (cost $35 to do this).
Then Mom got a letter in the mail with the bill, $99.35 and a phone number of the actual company -- not just the salesman.
Marv called them and explained the cancellation and refusal and they appeared to be OK with that--saying when they got the device back would take mom off the signup. In the meantime, we are debating getting rid of the bank account number--switching to a new account that the company doesn't have. The new charge if submitted, was 10 cents higher, would again cost $35 to have the local bank stop it if indeed we could catch it ahead of time.
The company appears to be legitimate, just employs charlatans as phone sales people--likely independent people. They did send a real package from a drop shipping point in PA of a real medical alert system (at least according the labeling on the un-opened package).
While this is going on we have been working with Mom on not giving her bank account number over the phone and not ordering things without some advice--things that are services rather than just an item. She has been sending a few $2 checks each day to all sorts of the charities that send you a dime, some labels, Christmas stickers, and of course a few dozen fundamentalist TV preachers.
She believes the $2 each means she is paying for the gifts. I reminded her that her mother (also in her 90s) got into the same set of scams and that mom ended up stopping her writing checks when that happened.
Mom is lonely. Her daily mail is her lifeline to the world. Maybe the $2 to get some mail is enough. She has a few dozen grandchildren and great grandchildren. She always sends them birthday cards with money; Christmas cards with money, however they don't all have time enough to reply with a thank you card or an occasional letter, whereas Boys Town thanks her and sends more stuff with each contribution. Maybe we are recommending she cut off the wrong contributions.
To meet her perceived need for a medical alert (she does go to the mailbox in the yard and to the garden and is wobbly on her feet and of course won't use a walker or even a cane), I started looking for local support.
The St Croix Medical Center has a misleading statement on their website SCRMC Alert System It seems to say they have this service