Has Mom or Dad Been Scammed?In the last part of our four part look at seniors and scammers we look at what to do if you find out if mom or dad has been scammed.
"Something strange happened the other day"
In some cases, your parents may be scammed and not realize it.
In a double-bind worst-case they may be embarrassed and not want to tell anyone about it. Children of aging parents may want to help parents but parents may not like the idea of getting help from their children. You'll need to work around this.
If your parents tell you about someone who just came to the door (for example) selling a house power washing and they actually gave out money, you need to do all within your power to put a stop to it.
What to do in the unfortunate case your mom or dad has been scammed:
- Stop payment on cheques. Get them to call the bank immediately or get down to the bank and stop payment on any cheque they may have written.
- Go to the bank and report that you have been duped. In the case of illegal use of credit cards and the like, banks are insured to cover this. Also, you may find they are surprisingly cooperative. Credit cards are very lucrative for them, thus they have an interest in maintaining people's trust in credit (as well as debit cards and online banking in fact).
- Keep hope and persevere. The con may be long gone and your mom or dad may have a poor description or he/she may live on the other side of the world. No matter what, you need to persevere to make sure that action is taken. A man in Indiana found out his father had been duped out of a quarter million dollars in an Internet scam. The culprits were from South Africa and the son is working with the US Secret Service and the South African police to slowly and surely catch the scammers and bring them to justice.
Still, this is the exception and police admit a sad reality: that most scammers are never brought to justice.
With that in mind, it's best to do all you can to avoid letting yourself or your aging, vulnerable parents get scammed.
A look back at seniors scams and how to avoid them
What Seniors Need to Know About Scamming, Phishing and Fleecing
More Scams That Target Seniors
How to Protect Parents From Spammers, Scammers And Other Scoundrels
More information about online scams and protecting seniors:
Most spam comes from Russia and Eastern Europe
- Protecting Your Parents From Senior Scams (November 2010 news article)