My mother has given away all of her money. What can be done to stop her with out lawyer involvement?

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I find it so odd and yet so typical that the elderly person becomes very paranoid and distrusting of trustworthy family members, yet easily embraces and trusts a total stranger by phone and willingly gives up money and ID info to a stranger. Happens all the time.
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IF your Mom has dementia AND you have POA, you can take her credit cards and checks. You can change the phone number and route the mail to a PO box or other box company. You can disable the computer and put up cameras in the living room as to who comes to the door.

If she owns the house, I would find the papers and "take" them for safe keeping.

If she doesn't have dementia and is of sound mind (put poor decisions) there isn't much you can do. It's her money and property and, if she's a gambler, she has a right to throw it all away.

If she's an addict, you could try taking her to GA meetings (Gamblers Anonymous). Stay with her during the meetings.

You could try to appeal to her that you'll need to have some money from her estate to give her a proper funeral.

You could try to see if she'll sign the house over to you or at least add you to the title.

May the crafty demons who pray on innocent elders rot where they belong!
Helpful Answer (7)

Does your Mom show signs of Dementia? Do you have financial and medical POAs? If the answer is yes than take her checkbook and credit cards away.

If not, how do the scams contact her? If by phone, try to get the info and report them to the FTC. Try to get her mail before she does. Contact the scams in writing, like email and ask to be taken off mailing list. If they send a self addressed prepaid envelope, send back the information with Moms name and addressed circled and "take me off your mailing list".
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Has given away all her money? You could try any consumer protection or trading standards organisations and see if they can help. I wouldn't hold your breath.

Is giving away all her money? Best to tackle the problem at the source - how are these people getting access to your mother?
Helpful Answer (6)

I’m so sorry this has happened to your mom and by default to you.

I don’t think scammers will leave your mom alone as long as they think she has anything left they can get.
Somehow the connection must be broken. Is it through the mail, over the phone, on the computer?
Does she have an addiction to gambling? Most addicts need help to stop the cycle.
If it’s through the mail you might want to change her address to a post office box and you manage it.
If it’s on an email, you might need to take her computer or cancel her email account.
On the phone, maybe change her number?

Your question reminded me of episodes I’ve seen on Dr Phil. I went to his website and searched for lottery. I found information on who to contact including a phone number for the FTC. It had information on what emails might contain to get the receiver hooked.
Here is the link for email scams.
Let us know more details of how this happened. We learn from each other.
Helpful Answer (5)

Do be so quick to discount lawyers. A good Elder law attorney can be of great assistance. The laws can vary from state to state and you must know the laws where your Mom resides. There are many reasons to have such an attorney on your team.
Helpful Answer (5)

Is it called "American Sweepstakes"? Having battled this problem myself for over 5 years, I do consider myself and expert and will do anything to help you. If you mom is the same as mine, then she won't stop. You can call the FTC, CIA, AARP, you name it and none of it will really help. If she's out of money, then she'll become a money launderer for them.

You need to attack the scammers. Meaning, find the number and call them. Leave messages, tell them you know everything that's going on. Prank call them. If you can, forward the scammers calls to you and answer when they call. Their whole game is anonymity so anything that exposes them will scare them.

They will try to scare you back. I've had suspicious cars parked in front of my house. They've sent sandwiches and pizzas to my house with his name "John Spenser" on the receipt. The jerk didn't even pay for it! Now, the delivery boys knew nothing but it was an intimidation tactic. For the suspicious cars, I walked right in front of them and snapped a picture of their license plates and they took off, never to be seen again. I doubt they knew why there were asked to park in front of my house. Just some dumb Uber driver.

The only success I've had with the feds is with the US Postal Inspection Service. About 4 years ago, I worked with them plus the head of the Jamaican police to capture one of the scammers that actually put his real name on a wire transfer. However, my mom's name just got routed to the next scammer and continued until her death which was two weeks ago. One of the last things she said was "take care of my winnings".....she was brainwashed until the end.

Fight back! If you're afraid, they've won. If you know the number, post it here and I'll call them for you :). Reach out to me if you have specific questions. I'll help you.

Jon Wren
Helpful Answer (3)

Now a days, scammers from all over the world will use a bogus telephone number that has a person's local area code, making it look like the call is from one's community. Most people tend to answer a local area code number.

What I do if I don't recognize the Caller ID, I answer the telephone using the name of the company where I work. The callers, if a live person, will remove my telephone number as they were targeting residential homeowners/renters.
Helpful Answer (3)

My dad started falling for scams on the phone. He was convinced there was a Wal-Mart lottery. Family and friends said no. He refused to believe us, so he called Wal-Mart finally.
My mom took away his checkbook and credit cards. I'd also get the phone disconnected, or physically remove the phone. Replace with a walkie talkie or personal monitor.  
Scammers can't win if they can't talk to people. Send mail to a PO. Box.
A lot of scammers do cold calls where they just keep at it, till they get an elderly person. Then they call constantly to become their friend. My dad was getting weekly Jamaican calls. My mom turned phone volume down so dad didn't hear it. They left messages. She would erase them before he heard them. 
One time I had a guy call who tried to get me to give him my social#. He actually got mad and very demanding. I laughed at him. Very scary someone was doing that.
I'm wonder if you answer the scammer on the phone; then leave it off the hook. It ties up their line for hours? They hang up but you don't. Ive had this happen by mistake when the other person put the phone back on the hook incorrectly. I couldnt use my phone. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (3)

Personally, I wish that there were more laws in place to protect the elderly from scams, etc. While many with dementia or addictions are unable to fully understand the ramifications of their actions, and may not be able to stop themselves from falling into the "trap," how great it would be if more lawmakers would experience these gut-wrenching family issues with their own parents. Perhaps then something more serious would happen to those who prey on the elderly and the mentally ill.

I do agree that a good elder attorney is a huge help when something like this occurs.

For those of us who are of sound mind and have experienced fraud for ourselves, we know how difficult it is in this day and age to fight the online criminals, the phone "marketers," etc. Mix in age-related dementia, Alzheimer's, addictions, etc., and it's easy for the wrong kinds of people to take advantage of people who need protections.

I hope you're able to get the help you and your loved one need.
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