Follow
Share

My 85 Y/O father has been traumatized by the sudden death of my younger brother (aged 51) in 2015 so much so that he has been highly susceptible to Nigerian scams which in previous years, he would've laughed at. He has lost upwards of $30,000 and possibly more in this past year alone to various scams. I am the only child living and am aged 61. I don't know how to stop him from responding to these people---it is all done online via e-mail. I did convince him to go to the FBI and we filed an IC3 report but so far nothing has been done (but it was less than two weeks ago; I know they are back-logged). I am also caring for my 83 Y/O mother and unfortunately, she is of no help insofar as controlling his behavior. He is still insisting that these "accounts" are real despite the fact that I keep telling him that the only money existing in these scenarios is the money he is putting OUT.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Good Morning, GardenArtist, Blannie, and SunnyGirl1---Thank you for your time. Sunny, I hesitate to involve myself directly in the management of his finances although, yes, he's squandered a goodly deal of his disposable income because he's still cognizant of good and bad decisions; he's just too gullible, and yes, GardenArtist, he is slowly "finding his way home" to the person he was before my brother died. It's been tough on all of us. If someone would've told me ten years ago that both my siblings would be gone and I'd be left to care for our parents, alone, I never would've believed it...I always figured our parents would pass away 20 years before we did and that my siblings and I would all spend our old age together. I've dealt with my grief for both siblings but my Dad is probably still in the "denial" stage. He seems in good spirits this morning and I'm about to go in and make him some breakfast. He admitted yesterday that he's just had way too much time on his hands since retiring in Oct. of 2014. I appreciate all of the thoughts in re what he can do with that spare time, GardenArtist---and very much appreciate your notifying the Feds in re someone offering to hack---his/her intentions might be good, but, hacking is still illegal, so, he/she should be forewarned of the consequences. My Dad probably should get involved at the Senior Center teaching others how NOT to get scammed once he does teach them how to do e-mail, etc. It's so difficult for people born in the 1930s who lived through the Depression and WWII; long before Journalist Tom Brokaw wrote THE GREATEST GENERATION, I found myself in awe of this generation, our parents, because as a teenager, I resented them getting on my generation's hippie bandwagon in the 1960s until I realized later that they never really had a carefree childhood or a carefree teenagerhood then they all got married in the 1950s and had a whole new set of demands and responsibilities; no wonder so many of them kind of "partied" and got divorced in the late-60s and 1970s---they saw an opportunity where society was finally offering them a chance to actually be free of demands and to enjoy life. But, this is an honorable and a very, trusting generation...they all sat in movie theaters in the '30s/'40s believing all of the "happy ending" Hollywood stuff and the sanctity of the spoken agreement and this is where I get really angry because I know these foreign scammers are aware of how trusting this American generation is; they target them *deliberately*. Okay, gotta run for now, but, I really do appreciate the time you all give me on this. Have a great day! Sincerely and Fondly, MaryMarie111
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Dear Blannie---Thank you for your response of the other day---I missed it and missed thanking you; my apologies. I'll take your suggestions to heart. Fondly, MaryMarie111
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

milley's spam has been reported.

First we get people offering to provide counterfeit services, now it's a so-called hacker offering to commit illegal hacking.

I've copied the message and intend to report it to the Feds.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

MaryMarie111, I would seek an experienced Elder Law Attorney in your jurisdiction who has a lot of experience with competency litigation. I realize that you say your dad is able to pass certain tests, retired a few years ago, etc., HOWEVER, memory is not always the only indicator of who is not able to manage their affairs.

If he lost $30,000. and does not see how that happened learn from that experience, then I would argue that he is not competent to manage his finances. It might be ugly, uncomfortable and upsetting, but I would not stand by and allow him to squander his assets. I would see legal advice and then get the evidence you need to proceed. I would at least explore it, since, other options are not very likely to prevent this from happening. And if you don't want to take over the finances, the court can appoint someone to do it, if they deem it necessary.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Forgot to add (extra thought for the day - that's a bonus for me) - it's great to read such positive news that he's realizing the money drains were scams. I think he might have gone through a really tough period and was vulnerable, but he's now finding his own way home to the person he was before.

I wish you and your family all the success and rewards you need, and hope that you'll continue to update us. A success story is always welcome.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Three more thoughts (that's my limit for the day!):

1. Teaching adult education, especially in the computer field. If he can bridge analog to digital, he'd be a perfect coach/teacher for both the younger and older generation.

Most communities in my area have at least one course on teaching computer usage to seniors; I suspect they're quite basic, but I think an 85 year old teaching computers wouldenable the students to bond with him more easily than a 20-something teacher.

And there are also the community ed computer science programs. I think universities are much more elitist and require at least a masters or perhaps a doctorate to teach part-time courses, but that's a different approach and probably wouldn't provide the student reinforcement that could substitute for the young worker admiration.

I don't know if there are any community colleges in your area, but that's another option, for part-time tutoring. There's really not much money in it; I made I think $8/hour when I tutored back in the mid 1990s. But the joy in helping students navigate courses that were problematic for them was worth the personal rewards.

2. Contract work with the DOD; I'm sure he knows more about this than I do. Perhaps it could be on a project basis, with intervals in between for time off. Or maybe it could be part time, 2 - 3 days/weekly.

3. Tech rep for one of the computer companies, or even an ISP. (Comcast could really use someone who is knowledgeable on the tech level!). Dell has top notch computer tech reps, very, very competent and knowledgeable, but I suspect they might be based in India.

I wish I had entered retirement with the credentials your father has!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Dear GardenArtist, freqflyer, and vstefans: I really, so very much appreciate the time you have all taken out to address my situation; it means a lot when I know you all have your own lives and issues to deal with. GardenArtist---I got a good laugh from the Trump comment but thankfully, my Dad is NOT in that camp...all of your insights in re his suddenly not being employed is a huge factor; he was used to getting a lot of attention for still being on the job by young guys who'd meet him for the first time and cry: "You're him---THE LEGEND!" And also, yes, he was basically an analyst. I think they kept him on because he never gave up learning new things every year; he could trouble-shoot analog in-between all the digital whereas most younger generations know only digital data, etc. He made himself *indispensable*. Anyway, this morning, he was talking about going back to work to try and get out from under all the money he's lost from these scams, so, the good news is that he's slowly coming into cognizance that these ARE scams...the bad news is that I don't want him going back to work. Thank you all, again, and I will be back tomorrow morning in case there are any responses; I really do appreciate your time. Fondly, MaryMarie111
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

If he will let you get onto his email account for long enough, you can set up some filters, AND you can set up automatic forwarding so you get ccs on all of them too. GardenArtist knows what she's talking about there.

Not sure the loss of his son is as connected to this as you are assuming - that kind of grief is truly terrible, but most grieving people do not suddenly start falling for scams left and right.... Can he get a really good psychological evaluation and maybe get some greif counseling, if not a candidate for medication? Is there something else he could do with his time and his talents?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I'm wondering if these are the same people who are Trump supporters; failure to educate oneself, whether on frauds and scams or on informed voting, might be a factor with both groups.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It is amazing how many people, no matter what age, can be money scammed. I get the daily police report for my area, and it is pretty quiet.... but I was surprised how many people in the area are falling for the IRS scam where someone pretends to be from the IRS claiming that person owned back taxes....

Thus, pay those back taxes or be arrested. What I find amazing is that the scammers ask for the money to be placed on iTune cards. Say what? Right there that would be a major red flag... but people still run out and purchase the iTune cards, and mail the cards to whomever. Then after the fact they realized they where had, they call the police.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Sorry, I missed your description of what your father did.

It's amazing that the DOD kept him on staff until he was 84. I thought there were mandatory age retirement requirements, but perhaps that's only for the military staff.

With all that technical experience, has he thought of teaching? I would think universities or schools with STEM programs would love to have someone with that kind of experience. Or what about teaching at military academies?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

MaryMarie, I don't believe anyone deserves to be scammed. Not in any way, shape or form. I won't tell what I think the scammers deserve, but it isn't kind.

So, your father is a high functioning career man with a distinguished career, but he's lost a daughter and a son. That's enough to challenge anyone.

You have good insights into his character, motivations, skills and weaknesses. How can you use what those strengths are in this situation? What did he do for DOD? What skills were used? How can you use those skills in this situation?

Was he an analyst, gathering facts and analyzing them? Use that in this situation; research other Nigerian scams all the way up to criminal action.

I'm thinking there might another major factor and that's that as a career man he no longer has a career. I didn't realize until several years after I had quit working (for pay) how much the work ethic is ingrained, how much reinforcement has been a customary and necessary factor, and how absolutely totally frustrating it is to be in a caregiving situation in which you're literally on the opposite side of the situation - catering to someone's else's schedule, to medical schedules, dealing with overworked medical professionals, grumpy discharge planners....The confidence and satisfaction of a job well done, of being admired and respected, is gone.

I wonder if your father feels that way now? If so, how can you build him back up?

Was he an exec? If so, SCORE could use his experience. Was he an accountant? He could volunteer for AARP or at Senior Centers to provide simple assistance for tax preparation.

Find a way that he can help people who REALLY are in need.

You don't want to get control of his finances; so how can you redirect them?

And like Blannie, I think you should at least try to filter out and block the e-mails. In fact, I don't understand how they're able to get through in the first place. When he's not around, get the full addresses and routing data for each of the scammers.

As I recall they're referred to as "full headers". It'll be a lot of numbers, routing addresses and data that probably won't make much sense, but it WILL enable the ISP to block those incoming e-mails.

If they're through a specific ISP, notify that ISP as well.

There are actions you can take without taking over his finances.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Can you try to set up some filters on his computer that filters out those pleas for money? If you can find some of them and the key words they use, then create filters that block those key words. I have all kinds of filters set up to filter out the junk emails I used to get about Cialis and penile dysfunction, etc.

Is he sending them a check or taking it out of his debit account or credit card? Could you set up a two-factor authentication on those accounts that would require your approval before those amounts (maybe over $200 or some smaller amount) is paid? I'd research different ways to either weed out those emails before they get to your dad or to require two signatures (or approval) before larger amounts of money are spent.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

MaryMarie, go onto the internet and find Dr. Phil's website, and search for the scam programs.... to find the search tool, go to the dark blue bar at the top of his website, over on the right you will see something that looks like a magnifying glass, click on that.

Have your Dad watch as many as you can find as Dr. Phil had quite a few of them... each of the shows dealt with one person who was caught up in mailing money overseas. Sometimes seeing someone else being scammed will hit home.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Dear Garden Artist---Your precious TIME is very, much appreciated; thank you, and I will try some of your suggestions. The problem is, my father is still extremely capable (e.g., he actually only retired from the Defense Dept. in 2014, a few weeks after his 84th birthday and DoD would've probably kept him on because he was very good at what he does (electronics engineer/sensitive projects, etc.) so, there's no way I can or truth be told would I ever want to try to get control of his finances...it's like, he went into some kind of a "fantasy world" right after my brother died. My Dad would've never been subject to these scams in prior years. Dementia, early-onset dementia? He was tested about 6 mos. ago and doesn't seem to have any of the signs. He still drives and is in excellent health for his age; he always took good care of himself. He actually BELIEVES that these scammers are nice, genuine and sincere. It was only after repeated promises to come into these "funds" that did not materialize was I able to even get him to the point of going to the FBI---$30,000.00+ later. My other sibling, an older sister, died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 58, so, I'm the only kid left. As responsible as my Dad has been, he has also had some "reckless" issues in his life insofar as being charmed by women (and yes, one of the Nigerian scammers supposedly, was one, "aged 24" or so, although, I think it was likely some 50 year-old guy posing as a female); you might also think he deserves to get scammed if he's farting around online getting emotionally attached to women he's never met, and a part of me would agree but it's getting so alarming; the other nine "accounts" are variations of the Nigerian scam involving supposed lawyers and government officials and banks, etc. As I write, he is sitting at his computer writing e-mails to all of the various "accounts" asking for an extension because they are all demanding that he pay fees now in order to "access" these outrageous (accounts supposedly in the millions).. I know it's all bull, but how can I convince this heart-broken man who's losyt his son that he's being duped? I can't...it's killing me, so much so, that I wish I could just go to sleep some night and not ever have to wake up to more of this insanity. It never ends.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

The scams are not only real but the perpetrators are dangerous. Once they get money, they escalate, put on more pressure, and from what I've read, sometimes require that the contributor fly to Nigeria to get the funds they've falsely promised. That's when physical safety becomes an immediate concern.

Few things you might consider:

1a. I think your father's displaying poor judgment, but that's not unusual in these situations. However, I'm not sure that it would rise to the level of dementia such that he couldn't create a DPOA that would authorize you to handle his finances. If so, meet with his attorney when he visits, having explained in confidence to the attorney what the situation is. The DPOA should NOT be a springing one dependent on dementia diagnosis. You need authority now.

1b. If you don't already have joint accounts, suggest that your name be added so you can monitor his expenditures. You might have to pay a stop payment charge, but at least you could prevent $30K worth of outlays.

1c. It wouldn't hurt to discuss the situation with one of your banking reps at the bank he uses. If he pays online, do the same thing.

1d. Also inquire if there are ways to restructure the account (a different type of account) that restricts withdrawals.

1e. If your father is liquidating assets such as stock, contact the brokers or mutual holders, explain the situation (if you don't have DPOA proxy authority) and ask about restricting withdrawals.

2. Contact your ISP and ask about blocking spam. I've found that MS wasn't very good about this and I used to get a lot of junk mail. Comcast is better but has other problems.

3a. There's also an Internet Task Force consisting of the FBI and 2 other agencies, which I don't recall right now. Contact them; another agency on the case might help.

3b. Contact the State Police; they may have a task force as well.

4. When you contact his ISP, ask to speak to someone in their fraud department. They may or may not do something, but they should be aware they're being used as a conduit for the commision of fraud.

5a. Try to think of other ways your father can reach out to help people, especially men, or younger males (such as Boy Scouts), to rechannel his need to help. If your church has young men or boys' programs, contact the head of the church and see if there's a way your father could make donations and be a part of the activity.

Sometimes substitution of good acts and parental feelings toward another person of the same sex can help address the loss a parent feels for a child.

5b. Do your parents have any favorite charities? Pet fostering? Pet placement? If so, or even if not but they're physically able to become involved, try that as a substitute for channeling affection. The goal is to allow him to help those in need, here, and real.

6. And research and print out, and give to your father reports of these notorious Nigerian scams, especially the threats they make as they suck someone in deeper.

7. Contact all your congresspeople and provide information on the scammer's e-mail contacts, and ask if there are any scheduled hearings on these scams. You might be asked to testify, or you could just submit information.

I doubt if this would provide any remediary action such as the FBI could, but at least you'll be bringing this particular scammer to the attention of legislators. In an election year, they might see some mileage in doing something for elders being scammed.

8. I used to get RLTV, Retirement Living TV, which periodically had programs on these kinds of scams. Comcast dropped the channel, and I don't recall specifically if they took actions, or if their goal was primarily public awareness. It wouldn't hurt to contact them; they might have suggestions.

9. Perhaps you could encourage your father to become involved in other charitable activites, such as delivering Meals on Wheels, or helping out at a Senior Center, or volunteering for PBS.

I'm sorry to learn that this scourge has plagued your family. I really hope you can find some channels through which to redirect your father's grief and desire to help peopel.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.