In February, Better Business Bureau issued a nationwide alert regarding Stevens Point-based AFD Medical Advisors targeting seniors from coast to coast in regard to a bogus medical discount scam. BBB also shared its investigation and complaints with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Wisconsin Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
On September 16, 2013, the FTC announced it moved to shut down the “scheme” that scammed seniors across the country via telephone by offering phony discounts on prescription drugs and pretending to be affiliated with Medicare, Social Security or medical insurance providers.
Bank accounts for the principals behind AFD Medical Advisors are frozen and mail has been diverted from its mail drops, crippling the organization. The Court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the deceptive practices alleged in the FTC’s complaint and has frozen the assets of the corporate and individual defendants. In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre) executed a search warrant in Montreal at the boiler room from which the calls originated earlier this summer. According to the FTC, the scam was run from both sides of the border. The FTC says it will work to get relief for the victims.
BBB opened its file on AFD Medical Advisors in November 2012 when it received its first complaint. A BBB investigation was immediately opened, revealing that the Stevens Point address was really a UPS store and the “suite” was a rented box. Checking with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI), the BBB learned the registered agent of “AFD Advisors” was Aaron Frank Dupont (initials “AFD”). Further research by the BBB tied in Canadian phone numbers and called upon the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for assistance.
To date, twenty complaints have been received from consumers in more than a dozen states. All complaints are from adult children filing on behalf of an elderly parent, some of whom were reported as residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and having Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Complainants reported that their parent received an unsolicited phone call from AFD Medical Advisors either advising of a problem with their Medicare program or offering free medical prescriptions through a drug discount plan. In all cases, AFD Medical Advisors representatives requested a bank account number and withdrew $299. The BBB became very concerned when it realized seniors were being preyed upon.
BBB contacted AFD Medical Advisors in December, 2012 and asked it to address claims made on its website, such as “The leader in providing clients access to patient assistance programs created by pharmaceutical companies” and its claims of affiliation with various pharmacies. The BBB also asked AFD Medical Advisors to provide names and contact information of at least five customers who had used its program and it asked for documentation on its supposed medical discount program. The BBB did not receive a response.
BBB is very grateful to those consumers that took the time to file complaints against this company, on their parents’ behalf. If you believe you are the victim of a scam, it does pay to file a complaint, as your experience helps the BBB to investigate, warn others through press releases and media, and work with law enforcement agencies.