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Old 11-10-2015, 08:46 AM   #21
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I am agnostic/none, but there should be a special circle of hell for people like that. Then again, the inner portions of Dante's ninth circle may well fit.
My thoughts exactly.
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:47 AM   #22
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We have to give perverse credit where credit is due - to wit, these con artists are obviously good at what they do. I don't know what their hit ratio is, but clearly for every 100 sane and sober seniors who don't fall for the trick there's a number that do.
My daughter's 73 year old mother in law fell for the "I'm your grandson and need money" call. She followed his instructions and got 3 $2500 CVS gift cards and had them waiting for him at a CVS clear across the country.
What upset me was why her local CVS didn't see this as a possible scam and give her a warning.
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:50 AM   #23
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I'd like to see somebody try that with ME. They'd have law enforcement breathing down their neck so fast it wouldn't even be funny.

I wonder if these people are mentally disabled from strokes or other physical problems. Otherwise I don't think that a normal, healthy 67-year-old would be any more likely to fall for these scams than a 35-year-old.
Back when I was working I belonged to a computer crime association with mostly LEOs and a few of us private corporate security people. One of the conferences I attended had a fed teaching the seminar, and he told us about a high priced DC lawyer that lost over $200K in a Nigerian scam. You know, one of these things where they promise you huge amounts of money if you help them get it out of their country. This guy was supposedly very intelligent, but also very greedy. He kept sending more money in hopes of recovering what he had already sent.

So I don't think it's necessarily a medical issue that makes people gullible. I think it's more a personality trait. Too greedy, too empathetic, too trusting, whatever. DW gets annoyed with me when I hang up on callers and throw door knockers off the porch. But I figure if I don't talk to them in the first place I will never get sucked in.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:35 AM   #24
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I'm still not sure how the scammers ever connected DS with my parents. DS isn't on FaceBook. I kept my last name but DS' last name is different (his father's surname). We all live in different states. It's scary out there.
There's a lot of such information available, but it's also part of the scammers repertoire to fish for such information.

"Grandma? It's me"

"Nicky?"

"Yeah, Nicky."
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:14 AM   #25
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There's a lot of such information available, but it's also part of the scammers repertoire to fish for such information.

"Grandma? It's me"

"Nicky?"

"Yeah, Nicky."
Yeah, that would work. I'm just glad they pretended to be the grandson for whom the story was least credible!
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:29 AM   #26
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The same thing happened to my Dad last week. He took $7,800 out of his Fidelity account and wired it to another bank account, supposedly to bail out my niece who'd been arrested because she'd been driving around with friends and the friends were caught with drugs on them.
Sorry to hear that athena. Our parent are vulnerable to emotions.

As for the original story, I want to speak up for the banker. I know on this forum we are "do it yourselfers" and tend to loathe advice from professionals. But in this case, it was a professional who actually stopped this madness.

This happened with my Dad. Dad almost got sucked into the fake lottery scheme. Thankfully, the banker stopped him. Dad had just enough sense left in him to take it to the bank and speak with his favorite guy. Thankfully, he convinced Dad it was all fake.

Advice to all out there with elder parents: get text monitoring of their accounts! Before Dad gave up all the banking to me, I got an on-line account for him and set up monitoring of his banking and credit cards. Dad didn't really understand or care what I was doing. All I wanted to do was monitor. The text messages were a godsend. First, I knew if he was doing something stupid. And second, I knew he was alive and well, doing normal stuff.

The downside of this? None, if you have honest kids. VERY BAD for bad characters in a family. It was WAY TOO EASY to get online access for dad. Bad siblings could do bad stuff way too easy.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:29 AM   #27
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Some people had a hard time believing I don't have a smartphone. Similarly, it's hard to believe the lawyer hadn't heard about Nigerian scams, but you know what? Maybe he hadn't!

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Back when I was working I belonged to a computer crime association with mostly LEOs and a few of us private corporate security people. One of the conferences I attended had a fed teaching the seminar, and he told us about a high priced DC lawyer that lost over $200K in a Nigerian scam. You know, one of these things where they promise you huge amounts of money if you help them get it out of their country. This guy was supposedly very intelligent, but also very greedy. He kept sending more money in hopes of recovering what he had already sent.

So I don't think it's necessarily a medical issue that makes people gullible. I think it's more a personality trait. Too greedy, too empathetic, too trusting, whatever. DW gets annoyed with me when I hang up on callers and throw door knockers off the porch. But I figure if I don't talk to them in the first place I will never get sucked in.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:38 AM   #28
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Some people had a hard time believing I don't have a smartphone. Similarly, it's hard to believe the lawyer hadn't heard about Nigerian scams, but you know what? Maybe he hadn't!
I resisted smartphones until Dad started having issues. Then it became an invaluable tool to help monitor his activities and help him out.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:50 AM   #29
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I resisted smartphones until Dad started having issues. Then it became an invaluable tool to help monitor his activities and help him out.
You can do that monitoring with email, you don't need texting (at least on my accounts). Also, even 'dumb phones' will receive texts, though sending texts is clumsy. But for monitoring, no big deal.

I'm trying to monitor accounts for my Mom while she's in the hospital and extended rehab. She has way too many accounts, and I'm not sure I can get text/email monitoring on all of them, or I might need to get her involved on the phone to get that set up and that's a little awkward right now. But I will see if I can get these accounts simplified, and get monitoring set up when she gets a little stronger.

The earlier post is correct - this sort of access is fantastic for helping her out, but also very dangerous if a 'trusted' family member is a crook.

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Old 11-10-2015, 11:36 AM   #30
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I was shocked to hear that my mother (69 y.o. at the time) fell for the "grandchild needs money to get out of jail" scam. Someone called, mentioned my nephews name, and indicated that nephew was being held and grandma needed to send a money order to get him released. It's not a stretch to think that said nephew would get in a bind and depend on grandma to bail him out. Luckily, mom wasn't sure where to go to get a money order, so asked dad, and he realized it was a scam and no money was sent.

I was surprised that my mother fell for it, because she always seems skeptical about things. She's also usually very careful with her money.
An old neighbor had this happen, she gave 3,000 in cash to a guy in a taxi that came to pick up the bail money, for her grandson in jail. She forgot he was on a business trip , real scam but it worked.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:00 PM   #31
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Some of these cases could be due to an imperceptible cognitive decline.

Imperceptible - in that you don't sense any problem when you visit your relative - and even a medical professional cannot diagnose such without testing.

A typical path is for a psychiatrist to refer someone to a neuro-psychologist for testing. Or, depending on insurance coverage, maybe you can make an appointment directly with the neuro-psychologist. Test for early stages of fronto-temporal dementia (executive management skills (ie., the abilities to make good decisions) are being compromised.

A few random thoughts:

Very possible/probable that no amount of "education" you believe you've done will "stick" with your relative.

The scammers are professionals.

Monitoring accounts is helpful. You may be able to go with your loved one to set up "safety" protocols at the bank/financial institution (no wiring of money without your presence, allowing the bank to notify you of fake check scams, no large withdrawals, etc.)

Have the relative banned from using Western Union and MoneyGram. The companies offer this service. But the scammers will instruct them to overnight cash in the mail.

If the person has no international family, have all international calls blocked.

Look up materials from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for more tips.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:11 PM   #32
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I like the idea of blocking international calls- Dad said a couple of the calls came from the Quebec area code. He'd probably be on board with that because they have no reason to expect calls from out of the US.


Not sure how the other monitoring people have discussed will help in this case: if I'd gotten a text message when Dad wired the money out of his Fidelity account it would probably have been too late. We live halfway across the country from them and, although my siblings who live closer have been wonderful about stepping in when needed, they're all at least a couple of hours away by car and some are still employed. Any thoughts about how to protect them from this happening again without taking away too much of Dad's independence?
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:49 PM   #33
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I think monitoring just helps you know that you need to kick in to "intervention" mode.

Adult children are reticent to intervene. So many implications. A parent can have a strong independent personality and may resist having monitoring or "help".

At some point, the hesitance to intervene will translate into lots of money (lost). That's just how these things go, unless the senior is willing to have the safety systems set up (Example: Banker instructed in writing by account holder to alert adult children to suspected scam activity.) Even then, it's dicey.

In some cases, by the time you figure out your loved one is being scammed, you have only weeks or days to save anything.

Many people look back and wish they had intervened sooner.

I recommend using an interventionist experienced in this area.

Good luck.
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Old 11-10-2015, 03:30 PM   #34
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I have a deep, seated belief that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I am hoping as I slowly loose my faculties my actions will automatically revert to this strongest of held views thus keeping me ever distrustful and a bad target. That's the hope anyway...
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:37 PM   #35
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Old people can get very creepy and distrustful, too. I guess it is our way of trying to compensate for our waning powers. The more I learn about aging, the less interested I become in living a long time.
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:44 PM   #36
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The more I learn about aging, the less interested I become in living a long time.
Boy, oh boy, ain't that the truth!
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:51 PM   #37
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I think monitoring just helps you know that you need to kick in to "intervention" mode.
Exactly. Monitoring will be too late for certain transactions. However, as the story outlines, these guys almost always do a series of transactions. If you can cut it off at the first or second, you are still ahead. You may be out 1 to 15 thousand, but it is better than 250k.

It is a trade off. Until one is in this situation, one may not have an appreciation for it. It is easy to imagine you'll swoop in one day and tell mom and dad that you are happy to take over, so Get Out Of The Way.

This will NOT go over well with Mom and Dad. Believe me.

Dad insisted on having his check book. The way he said it: "It is my only connection to all I earned. It is me." We had to compromise!

I watched the checks. The images were on-line. I cried as I watched his writing get worse and worse. I marveled at how badly the checks were written -- yet still cashed. (No signature, no numerical writing, etc.) Yet this kept me connected with him, and I felt my Dad's generous spirit.

When he was in independent living, he actually wrote 3 checks to the "tip fund" in one month, because he kept forgetting he wrote one. I let it go at 2 but finally had to call him after the third. He couldn't believe it, he had no memory of any of them. I visited and showed him the images. We had a laugh or two, and then he finally gave up the checkbook that day.

It was a process.
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:12 PM   #38
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Reading many of these stories makes me so grateful that I didn't have the problem. When Mom got into her 80s, she asked me to take over her finances because it had just become too much of a bother for her.

The first step was to make her bank and brokerage accounts JTWROS. After that, I paid all her bills and handled everything. I was very lucky in another way, since after Dad died, I moved her to the same city where I lived. I went to visit once or twice a week, and always brought some cash in case she was running low on it.

She used to tell me how she bragged to her friends that her son took care of everything for her, and they would reply that they would never consider such a thing because they didn't trust their kids not to rip them off.

This went on for a long time (she died at 96). When she eventually started to develop some cognitive impairment, there was no issue because I was already in control of it all. By prudent management, I was able to ensure that she still had something left at the end of her life.

Mom and I were both very lucky in this regard.
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:15 PM   #39
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Back when I was working I belonged to a computer crime association with mostly LEOs and a few of us private corporate security people. One of the conferences I attended had a fed teaching the seminar, and he told us about a high priced DC lawyer that lost over $200K in a Nigerian scam.
I heard about that one too, not surprising since we both worked in the DC area. We had a couple of guys from the Secret Service on a task force working out of our office. One of them went on a trip to Nigeria, and the tales he had to tell! Suffice it to say that visiting Nigeria is not on my bucket list.

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Advice to all out there with elder parents: get text monitoring of their accounts! Before Dad gave up all the banking to me, I got an on-line account for him and set up monitoring of his banking and credit cards. Dad didn't really understand or care what I was doing. All I wanted to do was monitor.
That's what I did with my mother. I took physical custody of all the financial paperwork and set up an checking account with online access and kept ~$500 in it all the time so she could do her normal shopping, buying gifts and the like. And if someone scammed her out of $500 no big deal financially.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:08 PM   #40
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Excellent article. How to Prevent Elder Abuse - Consumer Reports

These scammers make me very very angry - quite a few varieties of scams are outlined in the article. We all need to be alert for the sake of relatives and friends- and unfortunately ourselves.



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unfortunately this is really timely, my elder neighbor got scammed out of 30k
It was a local ring, they were calling elderly saying they were from the city tax revenues office and that they owed back taxes and if they didn't pay immediately they would lose their houses
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