scam calls: “medalert” devices

Consumers who have complaints can contact the FTC online at FTC.gov or use the toll-free number for the FTC Consumer Response Center at 877-382-4357.

I am so sick of these calls that I have opened a complaint case with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC has been fighting these MedAlert scammers for a few years now. (See 2015 USA Today article for example.)

These calls are a total pain in the neck and they come up on your caller ID as a seemingly legitimate number. Today I have had two calls so far, and the call that came in at 12:13 PM actually belongs to a real person who still has that phone number – their number was spoofed.

That’s what these med alert call-center people do. They spoof a seemingly normal looking number in your area and they call you. You pick up the phone and it’s a Robo call telling you that you have been selected to receive a free medical alert device. You can hit the number one to get a live person which I had done  every so often to keep requesting the do not call list. 

The do not call list never happens with these people because they are spoofing phone numbers it’s hard to figure out where they are coming from but research indicates Florida is the origination point.

A couple of  weeks ago when I couldn’t take it anymore because the calls are so frequent I called the FTC – the number is 1-(877)-FTC – HELP or 1-877-382-4357.  I was assigned a case number and now whenever the calls come in and I am home I write down the phone number the time and date of the call and I call the toll-free number back and update my file with the FTC.  It only takes a couple of minutes and that’s how cases are built against these horrible scam robo call  people.

Here are the numbers which have called recently which are different from today:

610-469-3824

484-250-5942

610-792-0373

All of these calls are originating out of the call center in Central Florida. I get gals name Alexis and Tabatha and Ashley who want to sell me MedAlert devices. 

I will note the FTC says do not talk to these people just hang up. That’s what I do now, but at first I kept trying to pound through to get somebody to put me on a do not call list.

These people generally speaking like to target senior citizens in particular.

I have been getting in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 of these Robo calls per day Monday through Friday.

There is a Consumer Watchdog reporter who works for the Morning Call in the Lehigh Valley who has written a couple of great articles about this in the past – here is one:

Feds say company is behind medical alert scam

Paul Muschick Paul MuschickContact Reporter/The Watchdog

July 15, 2015

We may finally know the driving force behind those annoying, deceptive robocalls that hounded area senior citizens by offering them “free” medical alert systems that weren’t really free.

Authorities say Lifewatch, a New York company that sells the devices, orchestrated the illegal telemarketing campaign. The Federal Trade Commission and Florida attorney general’s office sued that company, its president and related businesses a few weeks ago and are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the calls.

I know I am not the only one who is receiving these calls. I have been receiving them for give or take a month about 18 months. 

 It would be terrific if media local to us and/or in the Philadelphia region took an interest in this, but thus far they haven’t. 

It would be great if our elected officials on a state and federal level took an interest in nuisances like this that cost unsuspecting people money from Harrisburg PA to Washington DC I’m not really sure what any of them are doing these days are you?

Today we signed up for NoMoRobo . For landlines thus far it is free:

Anything that helps reduce the volume of these calls is a GREAT thing as far as I am concerned! Because is it just me or are the state and federal do not call lists somewhat of a joke these days? You sign up, you verify periodically that it’s still active, yet the calls keep coming. 

Granted you can’t stop the fake charity calls because they are registered as nonprofits even if they are using professional for profit call centers, but it would be really nice to cut down on these calls!

the delaware riverkeeper sends the pa dep’s hatzell a letter…about bishop tube!

Today just got seriously more interesting….a Dear DEP letter…..and a random act of DEP legal notices too?

Letter also uploaded HERE: DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER NETWORK LETTER TO DEP

Photographer unknown – found on community page – Bishop Tube 2017

cold-calling kids

The telephone rang a few minutes ago. The caller ID said “College Admissions”.

Here we go again, I thought.

Our son is a junior in high school and in addition to the expected inundation of college literature via US Mail that makes election season junk mail look like nothing, even though we requested no college cold calls, we are getting them anyway. And then there are the hundreds of email solicitations.

So yes, back to what I am not comfortable with: these colleges and universities are cold calling minors.

They come in at odd times, like just now. Like other types of cold calls they are not particularly welcome and this latest invasion is enough for us to check out https://www.nomorobo.com/ as suggested by friends.

Lately we have had India generated robo-calls from McAfee, predatory credit card companies calling about who knows what services  (they ask for people that don’t live here and never have- they must have a script that tells them to ask for random first names), bogus breast cancer charities, bogus veterans’ charities and my new favorite to tell me I am pre-approved for a “MedAlert” or medical alert device. The MedAlert people have called so often I filed a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission.)

But colleges and universities cold calling is a brave, new, and somewhat unwelcome telemarketing world for me. Most schools have current students who call. Take Temple University for example. They called a couple of weeks ago. The student sounded bored out of his tree, could NOT pronounce even our son’s first name, and mumbled to the point he was unitellagable.  So much for good first impressions, right?

But today, Marquette University in Wisconsin took it to a whole new level I take issue with. They are paying for a professional telemarketing firm (they called themselves a professional research firm but it is the same thing) to cold call prospective students.

Yes, that’s right, a telemarketing firm calling on behalf of Marquette University wanting to speak to our child. We as parents have not given them permission to call, the child they are calling doesn’t want to talk to them. And I am sorry, even if Marquette was on any list they wouldn’t be now because of this.

And as a marketing idea, come on do these schools even know teenagers today? They communicate primarily via text and social media, so are they trying to call kids via Snap Chat as well?  Kids today barely speak on the phone with family members, so why on earth do these schools think they are going to speak to their cold-callers?

I might get these calls occurring after a kid takes a campus tour, but as a preemptive strike?  Not so much.

As a trend this is bothersome and borderline creepy.  Every once in a while I ask these callers for their home phone numbers so I can return the favor and bother them.

Sign me tired of all unwanted solicitation calls.

delaware riverkeeper urges residents to take action and act now on toxic bishop tube!

Hot off the presses from The Delaware Riverkeeper!  The Delaware Riverkeeper is urging residents to act now, and send letters as per below instructions to state officials – elected and appointed.

Dinniman’s West Chester office is 610-692-2112 and his fax is 610-436-1721

Dinniman’s Harrisburg office is 717-787-5709 and his fax is 717-787-4384

Milne’s Malvern office is 610-251-1070 and his fax is 610-251-1074

Milne’s Harrisburg office is 717-787-8579 and his fax is 717-787-1295

HERE IS A SAMPLE LETTER YOU CAN PERSONALIZE AND SEND TO DINNIMAN OR MILNE WHICH ANOTHER RESIDENT HAS GRACIOUSLY SHARED:

BishopTube…Sample Letter

East Whiteland has a meeting this week where Bishop Tube will be discussed- Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7:30 PM. It is the Planning Commission. Same meeting room as the Zoning and Board of Supervisors. 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355.

Residents need to pack the boardroom again. I know, I know it’s like a part time job but it is important that every board hear residents with their own ears, and you have a finite amount of time to be heard.

the delaware riverkeeper opines on bishop tube to east whiteland zoning hearing board

In advance of the East Whiteland Zoning Hearing Board hearing continuation which will occur on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 7:15 PM at East Whiteland Township 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355 unless it gets rescheduled due to weather please see letter sent to the Zoning Hearing Board – YES that is a year typo in the letter, it happens. (Also read about Bishop Tube on Delaware Riverkeeper website HERE)

East Whiteland residents are so incredibly fortunate that Maya the Delaware Riverkeeper has taken an interest here (letter uploaded here to this website Delaware Riverkeeper Network ZHB letter 3.15.17 DRN comment with Attachments ).

Don’t just take my word, or the word of in many cases ill former Bishop Tube workers or General Warren Village residents, take the word of EXPERTS.

Bishop Tube is a site that could be redeveloped, but in my personal opinion with much less density AND after serious not minimal remediation, but again why not check with experts who are obviously concerned with this? Read what the expert says in the letter above…

Hey media, what are you waiting for?  Maybe you all can get the DEP to come out of the shadows here? I still do not understand what it is they have actually done and what they are supposed to do? And why hasn’t more clean up been done since they announced they were watching it? Isn’t that like the DEP is looking the either way?

And again…..just so we are clear – I am not adverse to the site being developed with following caveats: (1) much less density and preferably a different and non-residential use (2) AFTER a lot more remediation than has been discussed – as in not just the soil being removed and replaced but dealing with the groundwater issues, right?

Also, for once the residents of General Warren should be taken into consideration, shouldn’t they? And the potential health, safety, and welfare of potential future residents?

One General Warren resident said the other day:

Just hiked the stream between Bishop Tube and General Warren Village. Our township officials need to go back and seriously look at what they are considering before approving.
All the promises by the township that Village Way will be nothing more than “emergency access” are likely alternative facts. Not like a bed of stone will be laid to provide this access. They will build a bridge. I really do not believe that type of investment will be made and not used.  Maybe the township needs to consider access coming off of Three Tun Rd and coming in behind the oil company. The train bridge going into BT is posted 12’10” built in 1915 and visually crumbling. I can’t imaging how they will get in the equipment to tear down BT under that bridge or any other large construction equipment. Sure 2 vehicles can pass under this bridge but what about the 500/600 people who end up living back in there, how will they walk to the Giant? I didn’t measure but I can’t imaging a sidewalk under the bridge. Build your development and keep the Village out of it. Stop the bridge into Village Way.

Someone responded to that resident with:

What also cracks me up, because you know this won’t be in the brochure, I read in some document they are planning to put some type of vapor chimney in the units. Not for our common Radon issue, but for any other vapor release from the chemicals left in the ground at Bishop Tube. WTH???

Another resident said elsewhere:

We need it cleaned up right before building starts and that includes the groundwater below where the TCE now is !

There has also been a lot of chatter about the developer leaving if they do not get zoning variance but does zoning variance get groundwater remediation, etc???  I think the developer will get the variance in the end.  I see it getting set up for a softball in the meeting replay of the recent supervisors’ meeting.  But when Bill Holmes said it isn’t the end of it, he is right BUT residents with standing (General Warren) have to keep going to meetings because that is HOW you will get the site cleaned and get DEP to move.

I have to be honest that while I have issues with the developer and serious issues with the density of the development plan (even if it wasn’t being built on a toxic waste dump of a land parcel), where the issues never abate and concerns continue to grow is with the Pennsylvania DEP.  They are the constant from day 1 with Bishop Tube. So that being said, residents need to go to meetings and call the DEP (717) 783-2300 is the main number in Harrisburg.    (484) 250-5900 is the number to the Southeast regional office in Norristown.  And keep calling State Senator Dinniman’s and State Rep Duane Milne’s offices too.

WATCH THE EAST WHITELAND MEETING – [CLICK HERE]  Start watching somewhere around 20 minutes in. Are supervisors prepared to cave no matter what the risks to current and future residents? And DEP? Where is the DEP…..thank goodness for Environmental Action Committee because they at least seem to be in the residents’ corner, right? Seriously, does East Whiteland need Erin Brocavitch?

The PA DEP seems to say a lot about what they will not do, but I ask about what they should have been doing all along?  Anderson Hartzell is the acting director of PA DEP in our area now, but no one has ever clarified the rather mysterious and abrupt departure of Cosmo Servidio in the fall?  And remember how Limerick residents complained about the PA DEP being slow to act in 2010?

Limerick residents blast DEP for slow action against pollution (Video)

By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 05/17/10, 12:01 AM EDT|UPD

LIMERICK – Residents of more than 45 homes whose wells have been polluted by twin underground plumes of pollution packed the township meeting room to hear how the state is handling the crisis.

Residents complained about the slow pace of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in dealing with the pollution problem that was detected as early as the 1980s and more recently in 2002.

To date, wells tested at 47 homes have been found to have chemical contamination. The homes are in the vicinity of South Limerick Road, Springford Road and West Linfield-Trappe Road….

Last week, The Mercury reported that another groundwater contamination site has been identified by the DEP. Called the Landis Creek Site, the contamination has been found in eight wells near the intersections of Country Club Road and Ridge Pike and Township Line Road and Graterford Road.

The contaminant at the Landis Creek Site is trichloroethylene, or TCE, which is recognized as a carcinogen in California and considered a potential carcinogen by several federal agencies, including the EPA.

Now in Missouri in 2016 a company was awarded $20 million “for exposing a 27-year-old woman to a toxic chemical that has left her with permanent disabilities, according to online court records….At age 14 in 2002, Kirk was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. Testimony at the trial revealed that the disease was caused by trichlorethylene, also known as TCE. The chemical, a known carcinogen, was used by the manufacturer of ball bearings to clean metal parts.”

TCE is what everyone is talking about at Bishop Tube.  As per a lawyer in Nebraska’s website:

People who have worked in degreasing operations have the highest risk of exposure to TCE. Exposure to the chemical can happen by breathing, touching, or drinking/eating. People who use TCE as a solvent may breathe significant amounts of the compound. Since TCE evaporates quickly, people who shower or bath in contaminated water may breathe the vapors, as well. TCE can be absorbed through the skin. Individuals who don’t use solvent-resistant gloves while using the compound may face exposure. Groundwater can be contaminated once TCE is released into the soil, thus anybody who drinks from a well may be exposed.

Unfortunately many industrial companies use and have used Trichloroethylene for decades without properly supplying their employees with proper education about the chemical or proper safety training or protective measures to prevent all the devastating problems associated with Trichloroethylene exposure.

Potential Health Effects of TCE

Some health effects may occur immediately or shortly after inhaling air that contains more than 50,000 parts per billion by volume of Trichloroethylene. These include:

  • Heart problems including cardiac arrhythmias;
  • Serious liver injury;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Eye, nose and throat irritation.
  • Dizziness, headache, neurological problems; and

Although TCE has not been specifically linked to certain effects in humans, studies have shown that animals exposed to high levels of the compound may develop problems such as:

  • Cancer (including liver, kidney, lung, brain, soft tissue, testicular tumors, and leukemia)
  • Heart defects in offspring when mother was exposed to TCE
  • Increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease (six times greater than that of non-exposed subject)

Read an old article from 1989 from the Washington Post called Forging a Covenant of Silence . Here is an excerpt:

WEBSTER, N.Y. — There are three vacant houses on the 600 block of Salt Road in this community east of Rochester, and those who live on the street wonder why their neighbors moved out and no one else has moved in. “All of a sudden I saw a moving van moving one family out,” said Ray Gerber, who lives several hundred feet north of the cluster of empty houses, now owned by Xerox Corp. “I worry about it.” “We’re in the dark,” said Grace Krasucki, another Salt Road resident. The empty houses — the result of a secret and costly legal battle — stand as a testament to the growing use of secrecy procedures in the nation’s civil courts and how that secrecy is hampering efforts by scientists and health officials to learn more about hazardous chemicals and their effects….In the fall of 1984, construction workers at the Xerox complex discovered discolored water during excavation. Xerox later learned that 63 pounds of trichloroethylene (known as TCE), a solvent used in cleaning and lubricating machinery, had leaked over a period of years from four underground storage tanks…. In addition to faulting Xerox for the TCE contamination, attorneys for the families alleged that their clients’ health had been affected by airborne emissions from the plant. According to sources familiar with the case, tests in the houses showed traces of a TCE derivative in the basements and the sump pumps. They also showed residues of two other toxic chemicals, styrene and selenium, in the soot that coated lawn furniture, the walls of their homes and their car windows.

 

I would be curious if the builder on this (Benson) actually has brownfield development experience? And wow check out the Google reviews.  Not positive but then again these are the people who said let us build townhouses behind Linden Hall and we will restore Linden Hall, right? And what happened?  Sold the land with approved plans and Linden Hall just sits and continues to rot, right? And then there is that whole thing brewing in Tredyffrin about Howellville, right? And the whole Kimberton Meadows saga which seems to persist?

Here – Kimberton Meadows saga worth reading about if they are slated to be builders of Bishop Tube’s new lemming village:

East Pikeland Township Board of Supervisors Meeting February 3, 2015

East Pikeland Township Board of Supervisors Meeting March 1, 2016

East Pikeland Township Board of Supervisors Meeting April 5, 2016

Kimberton Meadows Residents Go Before Board Again

The group of homeowners says the development is not moving forward.

By September 13, 2011 1:22 pm ET

Residents are begging the  East Whiteland supervisors for help.  But why is a steep slopes variance for a cram plan the only solution? The groundwater. How will the development address that? How does East Whiteland know for sure what TCE will do?  The answer is they do not. East Whiteland your obligation is to your residents FIRST.  

Here is an excerpt from the letter sent by the Delaware Riverkeeper that stands out:

….As you know, the intent of the sleep slope protections identified in § 200-57 “is to protect hillsides and their related soil and vegetative resources, thereby minimizing adverse environmental effects” including providing protection from “inappropriate development, such as excessive grading, landform alteration, and extensive vegetation removal”, “[a]voidance of potential hazards to life and property and the disruption of ecological balance that may be caused by increased runoff, flooding, soil, erosion and sedimentation, blasting and ripping of rock, and landslide and soil failure,” “[p]rotection of the entire Township from uses of land that may result in subsequent expenditures for public works and disaster relief and adversely affect the economic well-being of the Township,” “[e]ncouragement of the use of steep and very steep slopes for open space and other uses that are compatible with the conservation and protection of natural resources.”

Granting a variance to Constitution Drive Partners from the steep slow variance would undermine all of these goals. The site is significantly contaminated and borders Little Valley Creek, tributary to Valley Creek, an exceptional value stream. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is concerned that the level of land disturbance proposed, including on the steep slopes for which variance is sought, on this site given the high level of continuing contamination, poses both health risks and will result in ecological damage, including to the Little Valley Creek, will result in future costs to the township to respond to the degradation, and is not otherwise compatible with conservation.

As discussed by Dr. Tom Myers in the attached report:

“Developing this site would expose the existing contamination to wind and rain which would cause it to erode and pass downstream or downwind where it would contaminate additional areas. Also, much of the contamination would remain in place, especially in groundwater and soils outside of the targeted excavation zone. Other than the additional contamination caused by water and wind erosion, this residential development and remediation will expose substantial amounts of contamination that would be left in place to increased erosion. The development would not contribute substantially to the necessary remediation of downstream and downgradient resources.”

Constitution Drive Partners wants to do a partial cleanup so it can develop the property, make lots of money, and walk away. Leaving dangerous amounts of contamination still at the site to contaminate groundwater, Little Valley Creek, Valley Creek, and any communities that are on the receiving end of that contamination as it makes its way to soil, air and water.

Constitution Driver Partner’s responses to DEP questions and concerns regarding their proposal demonstrates a disregard for the environment that is troubling, to say the least.