A U.S. district court has temporarily halted an Orlando-based operation that used robocalls to pitch “free” medical alert devices to senior citizens, telling them that the devices had been purchased for them by a relative or friend. The firm’s frozen the assets also have been frozen.
The Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General's Office are seeking a court order permanently banning the defendants from using the allegedly fraudulent practices and providing restitution to consumers.
“These telemarketers used illegal robocalls to make a sales pitch that was 100 percent false,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “They lied about the product, about whether health organizations had endorsed it, and about its cost. And all the while, their M.O. was to take advantage of older people's concerns about their health.”
According to the joint agency complaint, consumers who pressed one “1” on their phones for more information were transferred to a representative who allegedly continued the deception by saying that the medical alert systems are recommended by the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and National Institute on Aging.
In addition, the telemarketers falsely stated that the monthly monitoring fee for the system will be charged only once the medical alert system has been installed and activated, the agencies said.
The defendants include:
- Worldwide Info Services Inc., also doing business as The Credit Voice.
- Elite Information Solutions Inc., also d/b/a The Credit Voice.
- Absolute Solutions Group Inc, also d/b/a The Credit Voice.
- Global Interactive Technologies Inc., also d/b/a The Credit Voice Inc.
- Global Service Providers Inc.
- The Credit Voice Inc, also d/b/a TCV
- Live Agent Response 1 LLC, also d/b/a LAR.
- Arcagen Inc., also d/b/a ARI.
- American Innovative Concepts Inc.
- Unique Information Services Inc.
- Michael Hilgar, Gary Martin, and Joseph Settecase.
The photo avoce shows the top and bottom views of the LifeWatch alert device that the FTC said was involved in the sales pitch.
Information for consumers
The FTC has tips for consumers and two videos explaining robocalls and describing what consumers should do when they receive one. See ftc.gov/robocalls for more information.