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Scammers targeting seniors

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There's a special place in Hades, I'll tell you.

This week a con artist of some kind got a hold of my elderly mom and had her convinced that she had $2m coming, and all she had to do was wire him a whole bunch of money so he could get it for her. By the time we knew about this, she had wired him almost $2k and was asking my sister for a loan of several thousand more dollars that she would pay back in a few days, but she couldn't say what the money was for. Only when my sister refused to give her a cent until she said why did she confess and say that she'd won a bunch of money but had to pay this guy to get it for her. 

I cannot for the life of me fathom why she would fall for this, but then I am taking care of her bills and many appointments because she can't manage on her own. I'm just so disgusted that someone can do this and get away with it. I hope that Mom at least learned something.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Oh Eowyn, I'm so sorry.  That must be so humiliating for your mother.  I had a friend who was conned also, but in a different, much more complicated scheme.  (She and her husband were both conned, and they aren't elderly.)  Con men are scum.  

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Super sorry to hear @Eowyn, this stinks. I worked with a group who actively fights scammers on a business forum. Scammers are, to quote @LiterateParakeet truly "scum". 

Edited by NeedleinA

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Gah!  I'm sorry to hear this.  

I was once taken by a scam artist in a real estate deal.  I was a fool, he didn't do anything illegal, and I lost thousands.  Years later, I got a call out of nowhere from some little old lady who had been taken by the same guy, with the same scam.  She had been diving into his past real estate transactions and found me.  But there was nothing she could do either.  He's probably still out there doing it today.

BTW - the scam is I sold a property to a guy who gave 60% down, which he got from a financing company, and he financed the other 40% with me, promising to pay X$ per month.  I had the legal recourse to seize the property should he default, but I was in 'second place' after the main financing company.  Dood never made a payment, I exercised my right of foreclosure, his first financing company was in line before me, and I got squat.  I was able to deduct the loss across years and basically paid zero taxes, which helped me recoup much of my loss.  Still, it cost thousands.

Leo Greene, you are not an honest man.  I have met other people named Leo Greene over the years, and they agree. 

 

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Guest MormonGator

@Eowyn, I am so sorry that happened. Awful, just awful. Sending love and prayers. I agree totally that there is a place in Hell for people like that. 

2 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

  I was once taken by a scam artist in a real estate deal.

I've been duped. I've been duped several times. Anyone who says they haven't is lying to you. It's a kick to the stomach, for sure. 

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I agree and understand there are many predators.  In nature predators most often pray on the weak, afflicted and elderly.   Often we will experience in discussions that what “nature” evolves is a good thing that should not be interfered with.   Sometimes we think human society is different and that we must use our intelligence rather than our “natural instincts”.   Sometimes our efforts create unintended consequences.   

It is difficult to watch, especially our parents that cared for us when we were children, grow old and suffer the various afflictions of aging.   I am concerned that our social structure does not help us very much with our elderly that need various levels of assistance with ever changing needs.  My own experience with my parents and my wife’s parents is that we do not seem to understand their needs until something gets so bad that we must change our understanding and expectations of their capabilities.  This thread being only one of very many examples.  We seem to constantly try to adjust afterwards and not see what is inevitably coming – not just for our parents but for all of us – should we live long enough.

Then too, often our elderly resist the changes needed for their care.  Sometimes their resistance becomes so difficult we quit caring.  My grandmother suffered a stroke that altered her personality and a once gentle saint and lady became an angry paranoid individual with an insanely vial vocabulary.   I was so shocked visiting my grandmother when I returned from my mission that I never again visited her.

As for those predators that pray on the vulnerable – Though I would so enjoy getting even and metering out a healthy dose of justice – some may repent and we should be of an attitude to encourage repentance.  But I wrestle so much with my own sins I need help dealing with the sins of others and require constant reminders to forgive – especially when I do not feel like it.

 

The Traveler

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3 minutes ago, Traveler said:

In nature predators most often pray on the weak, afflicted and elderly.

And ignorant.  Like I was.  

Quote

As for those predators that pray on the vulnerable – Though I would so enjoy getting even and metering out a healthy dose of justice – some may repent and we should be of an attitude to encourage repentance.

Indeed.  Leo Greene, repent.  Stop getting your wife to answer your phone for you.  Stop running these scams on people.  Find a way to make a meaningful amend to your long list of victims.  In that way, your conscience can be cleansed, and you will be able to ditch your multilayered deeply-rooted defenses of denial and defensiveness when you look in a mirror.  Because as long as you continue to sucker people out of their money, you'll never have peace.

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My grandmother had a few of these. Fortunately, they started when Husband and I were living in her basement apartment, so we trained her.

Best moment was a "jailed grandson" call. she asked which one, got the "don't you know me?", threw out the name of the grandson currently visiting in her living room... yeah.

Well-learned, Grandma.

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4 minutes ago, Backroads said:

My grandmother had a few of these. Fortunately, they started when Husband and I were living in her basement apartment, so we trained her.

Best moment was a "jailed grandson" call. she asked which one, got the "don't you know me?", threw out the name of the grandson currently visiting in her living room... yeah.

Well-learned, Grandma.

I've heard that one before too.  

I wonder how scammers who target old people can sleep at night. Anyone can make a mistake but to actively target the most vulnerable in our society takes a true sociopath. I have no sympathy for them at all. 

Edited by MormonGator

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13 hours ago, Eowyn said:

There's a special place in Hades, I'll tell you.

This week a con artist of some kind got a hold of my elderly mom and had her convinced that she had $2m coming, and all she had to do was wire him a whole bunch of money so he could get it for her. By the time we knew about this, she had wired him almost $2k and was asking my sister for a loan of several thousand more dollars that she would pay back in a few days, but she couldn't say what the money was for. Only when my sister refused to give her a cent until she said why did she confess and say that she'd won a bunch of money but had to pay this guy to get it for her. 

I cannot for the life of me fathom why she would fall for this, but then I am taking care of her bills and many appointments because she can't manage on her own. I'm just so disgusted that someone can do this and get away with it. I hope that Mom at least learned something.

AARP.com has some useful information about scams targeting seniors (any random person really) and includes some articles and quizzes your mom can take to help her learn online and over-the-phone "stranger danger".

They also have a fraud map that lists local scams attempted in her area.

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5 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

Gah!  I'm sorry to hear this.  

I was once taken by a scam artist in a real estate deal.  I was a fool, he didn't do anything illegal, and I lost thousands.  Years later, I got a call out of nowhere from some little old lady who had been taken by the same guy, with the same scam.  She had been diving into his past real estate transactions and found me.  But there was nothing she could do either.  He's probably still out there doing it today.

BTW - the scam is I sold a property to a guy who gave 60% down, which he got from a financing company, and he financed the other 40% with me, promising to pay X$ per month.  I had the legal recourse to seize the property should he default, but I was in 'second place' after the main financing company.  Dood never made a payment, I exercised my right of foreclosure, his first financing company was in line before me, and I got squat.  I was able to deduct the loss across years and basically paid zero taxes, which helped me recoup much of my loss.  Still, it cost thousands.

Leo Greene, you are not an honest man.  I have met other people named Leo Greene over the years, and they agree. 

 

Ouch, that hurts. :( Sorry that happened. 

We did a similar deal on an investment property, but he paid the majority in cash and is making regular payments to our IRA (owner of the property). Thankfully. I don't know how easy it would be to enforce the repossession.

5 hours ago, zil said:

I'm so sorry, Eowyn.  Now may not be the best time, or it may...  This video about a guy having fun with a scammer is pretty hilarious.

I LOVE THAT GUY. I tried it once but the scammer wouldn't play. 

2 hours ago, mordorbund said:

AARP.com has some useful information about scams targeting seniors (any random person really) and includes some articles and quizzes your mom can take to help her learn online and over-the-phone "stranger danger".

They also have a fraud map that lists local scams attempted in her area.

Great information, thanks!

 

One frustration is that my oldest brother lives next door and watches out for her, and he has apparently talked to her about these things several times, and recently. I'm starting to feel like we need to take some things over from her, but I don't even know how to start that conversation. Right now I have access to her account to pay her bills for her, but that's as far as it goes. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

And ignorant.  Like I was.  

Indeed.  Leo Greene, repent.  Stop getting your wife to answer your phone for you.  Stop running these scams on people.  Find a way to make a meaningful amend to your long list of victims.  In that way, your conscience can be cleansed, and you will be able to ditch your multilayered deeply-rooted defenses of denial and defensiveness when you look in a mirror.  Because as long as you continue to sucker people out of their money, you'll never have peace.

A Buddhist friend of mine once said to me – it is enough that someone had cheated you from some valued physical possessions.  But why cheat yourself by giving over your own heart and thoughts to remembering how someone cheated you or the rest of your life.  Forgive them, take back your heart and thoughts and live in peace.  

 

The Traveler

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20 minutes ago, Traveler said:

A Buddhist friend of mine once said to me – it is enough that someone had cheated you from some valued physical possessions.  But why cheat yourself by giving over your own heart and thoughts to remembering how someone cheated you or the rest of your life.  Forgive them, take back your heart and thoughts and live in peace.  

 

The Traveler

Forgive? Okay. 

Lecture the family of the victim about forgiveness? No way. 

Lock up the scammer so they don't do it again? You bet. 

And while Buddhists don't believe in "sin" they believe in a form of Karma-scamming people is something a true buddhist (a true buddhist, not a trendy poser- No offense to your friend, not calling him a name) would be aghast at. So I'm not sure you friend really understand the actual teachings of The Buddha. Or the current Dali Lama. 

Edited by MormonGator

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53 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

Forgive? Okay. 

Lecture the family of the victim about forgiveness? No way. 

Lock up the scammer so they don't do it again? You bet. 

And while Buddhists don't believe in "sin" they believe in a form of Karma-scamming people is something a true buddhist (a true buddhist, not a trendy poser- No offense to your friend, not calling him a name) would be aghast at. So I'm not sure you friend really understand the actual teachings of The Buddha. Or the current Dali Lama. 

 

My Buddhist friend is not so different from the teachings of Christ.  For example Jesus taught that we cannot be forgiven of our transgressions until we forgive others of their transgressions against us. Even the L-rd’s prayer teaches that we seek forgiveness through the forgiving of others. The peace Jesus gives us from the world can only be realized after we forgive others that must be done before we can repent of our own sins.

But then; there is no need to lecture anyone that does not want the peace that can come to them when they forgive.  For those that desire their heart and thoughts to be free from what others would or do take – the only possibility I know of is to forgive and forget – let it go 100%.  As I understand the atonement of Christ – he already suffered and paid for all sins.  I see no reason for anyone that believes in Christ to continue to suffer – even for what others have done to them.  But for those, that despite that Christ has already suffered, insist to suffer themselves – thought I personally would advise against it – I respect their personal preferences.

 

The Traveler

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Guest LiterateParakeet

The thing I observe about forgiveness is that people love to tell others to forgive, but are not so good at doing it themselves.

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8 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

The thing I observe about forgiveness is that people love to tell others to forgive, but are not so good at doing it themselves.

Yup. The other tragic truth is that many (and @Traveler I seriously don't mean you or your friend) are good at lecturing others to forgive and preaching to them that it's mandatory for a Christian to forgive everything  and never stand their ground-but if anything happens to their child/their cousin/their mailman they plot revenge.
 

I'm not saying you should carry grudges like a mafia don, but you need to be very careful about preaching forgiveness to others who have been wronged 

Edited by MormonGator

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4 hours ago, Eowyn said:

 

One frustration is that my oldest brother lives next door and watches out for her, and he has apparently talked to her about these things several times, and recently. I'm starting to feel like we need to take some things over from her, but I don't even know how to start that conversation. Right now I have access to her account to pay her bills for her, but that's as far as it goes. 

 

 

I'm so sorry, Eowyn. That has to be a difficult decision and conversation. 

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9 hours ago, Eowyn said:

One frustration is that my oldest brother lives next door and watches out for her, and he has apparently talked to her about these things several times, and recently. I'm starting to feel like we need to take some things over from her, but I don't even know how to start that conversation. Right now I have access to her account to pay her bills for her, but that's as far as it goes. 

I'm not at that point yet, but you can bet I'm listening out for how others handle it. As my mom started looking forward to retirement as a reality I started asking her about her finances and various forms of insurance. The conversation(s!) was frank for both of us. It helped that she was already thinking about it (having taken care of her own mother for several years as her health declined). It helped that I asked direct questions. And asked them again the next time I called. Then when she actually retired she told me what was now in motion because she had filled out the paperwork/called the right people (I wasn't expecting any sort of a report, but I think she recognized that I cared and that it served as a sort of long-distance buddy system).

For you, it might help to start the conversation with a hypothetical. "Mom, I just read an article about elderly people in the early stages of dementia (or whatever the scare is that runs in your family - as a mom, the anecdata instinct runs strong) burning through their savings without anyone realizing it. I would hate for something like that to happen to you. What should we do in 5 or 10 years when that starts happening?" From there you (or your brother) need to ensure that you recognize when the proper time to take over finances is, and see to it that your mom has the necessary information to agree. This is not you bringing over a bunch of pamphlets; this is you broaching the subject with her and she then doing the research whatever way she prefers. Once you're all on the same page as to when it will happen in the future, you might want to see if she wants to give partial control to one of the kids on a trial basis, if only to ensure that she's pleased with how thy manager her finances. She still maintains oversight (and can continue to write whatever checks she wants) until such a time as she yields (based on that agreement everyone reached earlier - which, again, is not a contract, but an exercise in getting her comfortable with the inevitable), and with that oversight she can determine if someone isn't keeping the books as minutely as she prefers, or in her. And since she still has her full faculties, she can "fire" that child from the finances and try someone else (just watch the People's Court sometime if you want to see families fractured over how someone handles someone else's money).

All this continues to respect her autonomy, which is paramount. My sympathies towards her wants to let her maintain the right to spend every last dime of hers on helium balloons so she can float her house and meet (and marry) the man from Up. She might get the power shut off. She might get evicted from her house. She will die penniless in a hospital that's required to take her even though they know she can't pay. It is not the final years I want for her, except that I want to still have control over those things which she feels she can control. And that means she gets to do stupid things. But I also get to tell her that I'm worried about her and I'm willing to help when she's ready.

By the way, it might be time for you to make friends with someone in hospice care so you and your mom can be more aware of common stages and phases of the senior years. (that sounded a bit more know-it-all than I intended, hopefully you heard it the way it was in my head). 

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There are many kinds and “levels” of scams.  I use to have a book titled “The Greatest Scams in American History”.  The book was interesting and wanted to point out all the evil that has been done to the un-expecting but what it did not point out is that many of the greatest scams (at least from a strictly monetary stand point) have been scams perpetrated by our government.

The sad truth is that in most cases those being taken advantage of are in essence begging to be scammed.  They are trying, in essence, to get something for nothing or for much less than its actual or real value.  They are trying to be the scammer, they just are not very good at it.  The worse kind of scammers as being highlighted in this thread ask for money with the most absurd and ridiculous schemes.   The scammers will send out mass email deliberately looking for someone willing to chance a most absurd and ridiculous claim.  Something like send X amount of dollars and get 10,000 X or more in return.

There is something in human nature that desires free stuff.  The reality is that the mentality of something for free is the grand temptation or scheme of the greatest scammer known a Satan.  Nothing is free.  Many Christians think salvation is free – but that just is not true.  Someone paid dearly for our salvation and as much as many would like to think of it being free – at least to them and in their mind that is all that matters.

My wife has a business and we will often offer free samples to introduce the product or new products to people.  Some of our products are intended to be eaten.  It is very interesting but we have to display signs like “Please No GRAZING!” and "Just one Sample Please"!  Often we have to ask people to leave – after reminding them several times that we are offering samples only.  I have had individuals pout and huff as they leave only to return later trying to get more free samples thinking they will not be remembered.

It may be a surprise to some on this forum but there are some places in Utah with heavy LDS population that we simply will not offer and cannot afford to offer any free samples.  Why am I telling anyone this?  Because these places are prime targets for scammers.  As wonderful as Utah and the saints are – there is an undercurrent and desire for free stuff or great deals.

My father taught me that when doing business – or buying something that the first thing to do is look for someone (a specific individual) to trust and provide accurate information.  Second is to deal with reputable companies that are established in the communities in which they do business.  The last and least important thing is to be concerned about the price or cost.

Something my father taught me about fishing – that is that a good fisherman baits a cleaver hook.  The intent and enjoyment of fishing is in getting a fish to bite something with a hook in it.  But he also said fish are really stupid.  If they took your hook once and somehow got off the hook – put the bait and hook back in the same place as soon as possible because the fish is hungry and intent to take the bait again.

With age our cognitive abilities will sometimes diminish – perhaps even our moral compass falters.  But like so many things in life that are unfair – focusing on the unfair just is not a solution.  Revenge and the willingness to define one’s life by the unfairness is worse than the mistake of falling for the scam  (bated hook) in the first place.  As much as we would like to think otherwise – revenge only darkens our heart and does nothing that is not already damaged to the heart of the scammer.

 

The Traveler

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