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Authorities Warn About a Medical Equipment Scam

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

MCNAIRY COUNTY, Tenn. - A creative phone scam is sweeping parts of the area.

In this one, the caller does not promise money, but instead pushes for the delivery of free medical equipment. The victims said they have ordered no such equipment, and they are worried about the calls.

"At first it sounded like a recording because you'd try to say something and they just keep going and going," said Marsely Schuettenberg, who answered a scam call. "They tell you that they're with a certain company and they've got some free medical equipment that they need your address to ship to."

McNairy County Sheriff Guy Buck said most residents hang up on the calls, but he feared others may fall victim.

"Our concern are the people who may legitimately think that they need a system like this, or maybe that their doctor had set it up," said Sheriff Buck.

"[Victims] go giving them their address and everything else, thinking they're going to get this medical equipment they need, and in reality they're going to get robbed or worse," said Schuettenberg.

Sheriff Buck said though break-ins are possible, identity theft is more likely. As a result, the scammers asking for the victims address may be the first of many questions.

"Most of the time, the goal is to try and get banking info or personal info, so that they could steal their identity," said Sheriff Buck.

If scammers target you, authorities said to write down the number than called, and then hang up your phone.

"If you haven't participated in the process of trying to receive a product, then there's no reason to think you should be receiving it for free," said Sheriff Buck. "Never give out any personal information over the phone."

If you believe you have been targeted by a scam like this, call you local authorities to file a report.