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Elder scams - Consumer Reports
Old 11-10-2015, 07:05 PM   #41
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Elder scams - Consumer Reports

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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...

I worry less about investment scams with Dad; when I tried to make him feel better by telling him how many people on "American Greed" were ready to believe they could get 15% returns, guaranteed, he laughed and said that during the years he tried working for a major brokerage, that was what all his clients wanted. This scam, though, hit an emotional button. The granddaughter supposedly in trouble works in healthcare. He panicked at the drug-related story because he knew she could lose her job if she was convicted for something.

He had told me years ago that he and Mom wanted me to be in charge of financial decisions if he wasn't up to it- I was honored since two brothers are accountants. So, the trust is there. A system that gives him free rein over a limited portion of the assets might work. I also want him to run things by Mom. I'm not sure why, but she wasn't around. She does socialize more than he does. I think it would be much harder to scam the two of them.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:35 PM   #42
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We had a client's widow who repeatedly got roped into lottery scams. Her son who lived across the country tried very hard to rein it in, but it was nearly impossible to prevent her from sending them money. He stopped her mail, closed her bank account, and changed her phone number, but she still managed to get back on the lists time after time. Very frustrating, and she really resented it when I monitored her brokerage account and notified him when things looked fishy. I don't know what you can really do about it when people are determined to get scammed.

I've gotten a few of those "lost my money and passport while traveling" emails, and always had a good laugh. I warned my family never to fall for those, despite the fact that I have had a greater likelihood of that scenario actually happening than most!
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:41 PM   #43
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Facebook is another place the scammers hang out. In the last couple of months I have had 8 people I have never heard of send me friend requests. The first couple I accepted only to have the bozos launch into a "you have won the Facebook lottery" scam whereupon I unfriend them. Now when I get a request like that I look at their timeline it is invariably completely blank except for what I assume is a phony picture. If I find that to be the case I delete their request. There is no Facebook lottery.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:18 PM   #44
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I've gotten a few of those "lost my money and passport while traveling" emails, and always had a good laugh. I warned my family never to fall for those, despite the fact that I have had a greater likelihood of that scenario actually happening than most!

Yeah, I got one of those from a friend who'd been suddenly called to one of the former Soviet republics on business and was in desperate need of money. Funny thing- I'd just seen him in church that morning. He must have taken the Concorde!
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:23 AM   #45
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Here is an interesting site to check on phone numbers used by scammers.
http://800notes.com/
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:22 AM   #46
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Yeah, I got one of those from a friend who'd been suddenly called to one of the former Soviet republics on business and was in desperate need of money. Funny thing- I'd just seen him in church that morning. He must have taken the Concorde!
And a time machine to get to a time when the Concorde was flying!
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:51 PM   #47
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There is no Facebook lottery.
Say it ain't so!

Ha. Next you'll be saying there's no Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:05 PM   #48
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A couple of years ago two of our neighbors fell victim to the 'This is Microsoft and your computer has a virus" scam. Both sent money.

Neither were senile and while some here may consider them 'Old' one was about 70 and the other 85. What I think they had in common was that while both had computers, neither were really active computer users.

I don't think, as a society, we do a great job of getting information about scams out to the public. Working individuals have a network that aids in keeping them informed. The old, often retired not so much. IMHO, those that get involved with social networks, such as this, and others on the web, have a better chance to stay informed. So age may be an indicator not a cause for these folks being victims.

For my MIL and FIL, they passed away at 94, and 96, but stayed informed through family, friends, and church social contacts.
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Old 11-11-2015, 07:17 PM   #49
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A couple of years ago two of our neighbors fell victim to the 'This is Microsoft and your computer has a virus" scam. Both sent money.

Neither were senile and while some here may consider them 'Old' one was about 70 and the other 85. What I think they had in common was that while both had computers, neither were really active computer users.

I don't think, as a society, we do a great job of getting information about scams out to the public. Working individuals have a network that aids in keeping them informed. The old, often retired not so much. IMHO, those that get involved with social networks, such as this, and others on the web, have a better chance to stay informed. So age may be an indicator not a cause for these folks being victims.

For my MIL and FIL, they passed away at 94, and 96, but stayed informed through family, friends, and church social contacts.
DW's aunt & uncle just fell victim to this. I was surprised, because a few years back he said he got a phone call from'Microsoft' saying he had problems with his computer. He was savvy enough to know that was a scam, and hung up on them.

But this time, it was a pop-up on his computer, saying to call some number for AT&T services to unlock it. They called, and agreed to pay $29 on CC to unlock it. But then they got transferred to 'the tech', and he said it was more complicated than they first thought, and now they wanted $229!

At that point, he got suspicious and called me. I was going to go over and pick up their computer and see if I could clean it, but then they said it was working OK. But I need to show them how to back up the files they do for their clubs. When I asked about backups, they had no idea what I was talking about. But they did close that credit card.

Reminds me - many years ago, MIL & FIL got a computer, because their accountant told them they could 'write it off' for their business. Ended up with a pretty high-end system for the time, and lots of business software that they never used.

MIL entered all her recipes into the word processor, printed them, and then deleted the file and started a new one. We asked why she didn't save each one "Why? I've got them printed now."

That was an expensive typewriter. But they did play solitaire on it, so there's that.

-ERD50
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:08 PM   #50
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...
I don't think, as a society, we do a great job of getting information about scams out to the public. Working individuals have a network that aids in keeping them informed. ....
I don't know. Based on our experience/anecdotes, DW and I would disagree that any work network adds anything to information other than narrow job/profession specific. Indeed, there is a lot of spurious information incoming from work networks! This is likely one of the many YMMV areas?
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:53 AM   #51
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One of the men Mr. A. and I worked with (well...we did the working; the man in question, not so much), bought a PC because "everyone" was getting a computer and he'd been told they were useful. In the end, he used it to inventory the contents of his freezer, and that was that. Being of the generation of men who never learned to type, he did not like having to input information via keyboard! He is long dead, but probably would have loved voice-command apps, such as Siri.

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Reminds me - many years ago, MIL & FIL got a computer, because their accountant told them they could 'write it off' for their business. Ended up with a pretty high-end system for the time, and lots of business software that they never used.

MIL entered all her recipes into the word processor, printed them, and then deleted the file and started a new one. We asked why she didn't save each one "Why? I've got them printed now."

That was an expensive typewriter.

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Old 11-12-2015, 06:27 AM   #52
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Not really a scam, but an instance of a store clerk taking advantage of an older customer. When my mom bought a digital camera to use on her first trip to Hawaii, the guy at Radio Shack sold her a lead-lined pouch for her memory cards "so the airport X-ray machines won't erase my pictures".
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:52 AM   #53
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Not really a scam, but an instance of a store clerk taking advantage of an older customer. When my mom bought a digital camera to use on her first trip to Hawaii, the guy at Radio Shack sold her a lead-lined pouch for her memory cards "so the airport X-ray machines won't erase my pictures".
Sad part is the Radio Shack guy might actually believe what he told your mom.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:04 AM   #54
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Sad part is the Radio Shack guy might actually believe what he told your mom.
What's a Radio Shack?
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Old 11-12-2015, 03:31 PM   #55
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The scammers preying on the elderly are low life's who are in the same class of those who steal your property after a tornado damaged your home or ripped you off during a flood when your home is isolated from protection. What we need is a few more " Judge Roy Beans" judges out there locking up these thugs and throwing away the keys. The rewards for scammers and computer hackers are huge while their punishment if caught is hardly a hardship. If I caught the guy who hacked me; I would guarantee that he would never do it again. These thugs/thieves need to be stopped with appropriate punishment, otherwise it will get worse.


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Old 11-12-2015, 04:11 PM   #56
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No doubt these scammers are low life POS but are they any better or any worse than some FA or broker who takes advantage of some little old lady or man by selling expensive annuities or churning their portfolios to juice up their commissions ?

IMHO it's the same thing.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:30 PM   #57
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The one I remember the most, because it was so frustrating, is a case involving a retired Army nurse with short-term memory loss and living alone in her house. Neighbors tried to help but there is only so much they could do.

Anyway she had had some tree-trimming work done, and she paid the tree-trimmers. They came back the next day and she paid them again. This went on for several days until the neighbor realized what was going on and called our office (Fraud Section). I went to talk to her and left my business card on the coffee table in the living room, and before I got back to the office (20 minutes) there was a voice mail from a neighbor asking why I'd been there. She'd already forgotten me being there!

Anyway, she had a business card from them or at least a phone number that I could use to identify them. I had the bank film (and it was film back then) of them cashing the checks.

But the prosecutor wouldn't press the charges because she would have been an unreliable witness and there was no way to prove that the checks weren't gifts or loans or for some other work.

Very frustrating - I had the evidence but couldn't prove the crime.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:34 PM   #58
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No doubt these scammers are low life POS but are they any better or any worse than some FA or broker who takes advantage of some little old lady or man by selling expensive annuities or churning their portfolios to juice up their commissions ?

IMHO it's the same thing.

Kinda like a wolf in wolf's clothing vs a wolf in sheep's clothing.
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:24 AM   #59
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We have lots of wolves on the hunt, and your example of having the evidence to convict but not the will to prosecute is only feeding the hungry wolves and growing the problem.


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Old 11-13-2015, 07:43 AM   #60
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As the boomer generation retires look for more scammers and fraudsters and increased levels of sophistication to separate the elderly and their money.
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