'Free' medical braces top Orlando robocall schemes

So called 'patient advocates' bill inflated prices to Medicare

ORLANDO, Fla. – Thousands of Orlando-area residents who use the YouMail app reported thousands of robocall offers from people claiming to be working closely with Medicare.

The caller offers “free” medical braces to accommodate people in pain, according to YouMail CEO Alex Quilici.

“It’s basically giving older people free medical braces but billing Medicare a crazy amount for the brace that’s been sent out,” Quilici said.

[RELATED: Here's how to stop annoying robocallsUS government announces nationwide crackdown on robocallers]

Quilici said the calls are elaborate, actually connecting the consumer with a doctor who prescribes a medical brace for pain over the phone.

“Medicare is then billed anywhere from $400 to $600,” Qulici said. “That’s the scam.”

Quilici said the Medicare setup ranked first among the top 10 robocall schemes reported in Orlando last month.

The majority of robocall deceptions included credit card interest rate offers.

Here is a list of the top 10 robocalls in Orlando:

1. Medical brace --patient advocate
2. Interest rate -- Visa alert system
3. Interest rate -- Member Services Department/final courtesy call
4. Interest rate -- Alice, from Visa Card Services
5. Student loan -- big action lawsuit
6. Interest rate -- significantly lower
7. Business loan -- Kate
8. Home security -- home security promotions
9. Google listing -- business listing at risk
10. Interest rate -- more than $3,000/0 to 6%

A similar Medicare operation was shut down in April netting an estimated $1.2 million, according to federal investigators.

Quilici said Medicare gets stuck paying “inflated prices” for the medical consultation and the brace.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis reviewed the robocall recordings, including the medical brace scheme.

He told News 6 his team will work to keep consumers aware of these Medicare and credit schemes.

“Unfortunately, some of these are linked to call centers based outside of the United States," he said. "It’s a very difficult arrest to make.”

Patronis has a team dedicated to presenting workshops for seniors so they are aware of the latest schemes in the state.

For more information, click here.

To learn more about the YouMail robocall data for Orlando, click here. Click here to see data specific to September.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.