KERN COUNTY - A phone scam working its way across the nation, now has phones ringing in Kern County. The Better Business Bureau says scammers are targeting senior citizens. Robo-calls or recordings, tell the person answering they have an pre-paid medical alert device waiting for them. All the caller needs is some personal information.
Bakersfield Police put out a warning about this scam a month ago. But, the B.B.B. says it's back, and the scammers are hiding behind a real company to tap into banking accounts.
With memorable commercials with lines like, "I've fallen and I can't get up," Life Alert has been selling medical alert systems for decades. But now, scammers are trying to get a cut of their action, falsely using their name and tag line over the phone.
On the scam call it says, "It's the fallen and I can't get up type of system you've seen on T.V."
"As that call would go on, the caller would request identifying information or credit card information from the person they were calling," said Sgt. Joe Grubbs, Bakersfield Police Department.
On the scammer's call, a very casual and life-like recording explains someone has ordered a medical alert system for the person they called and paid for it. All the person has to do is press one and pass on personal information.
"The reason that they target seniors is because they are generally home and they answer their phone," said Cindy Dudley, Director of Business Service with the Better Business Bureau.
Dudley says once the victim gives the caller information, some receive a device, others don't. But, they are all charged a monthly service fee of $35 to $45. And, it's not clear if the monitors that were delivered even work.
"These scammers know exactly how to talk to a senior citizen. And, the only thing that the senior citizen is doing wrong is being a trusting individual," said Dudley.
"It's an identity theft age we live in and a social security number, a drivers license number, a date of birth, any of that information is just golden to crooks," said Sgt. Grubbs.
Police advise just hanging up if you get the call. But if you fall victim, the Better Business Bureau says try contacting the billing service to cancel, call your bank, and then call them to report it.
Although the B.B.B. says scammers are using the "Life Alert" brand here, other brands have been used across the country and credible medical alert companies do not solicit.