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My Mother in Law has given a caller posing as someone from Verizon all of her banking info, password, Social Security number and date of birth. This is the second time this has happened. She is too trusting and doesn't realize that no one legitimate will ever call her asking for this info and anyone that does she should hang up on them! The caller had her get on her computer and directed her to a website to install software and had control of her computer for at least 90 minutes.The caller also somehow was able to direct her to install software on her new iPhone!


MiL was able to contact the bank and her account is frozen and funds are safe. My wife was able to get a 3 way call with mom and her bank to change the password so my wife could review her mom's account as my MiL's computer is not safe to use for any financial transactions. Because her computer cannot be determined to be safe it needs a new clean operating system installed or be replaced. My sister-in-law "SiL" bought her mom a new computer to be delivered ASAP.


I've said MiL cannot do her own banking on her computer again, she cannot be trusted and this WILL happen again, it's not going to get better, it never does. My SiL thinks mom has learned her lesson and won't do it again. I've said it doesn't work that way, as our LO's age it never gets easier and they become more vulnerable, and with an established track record it will happen again. To this SiL says it will be fine, her mom has learned her lesson.


What are your thoughts and what would you do?

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Reply to EmotionallyNumb
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When my mom went into AL I froze her credit since she she wouldn’t be applying for credit or buying anything..

This is something everyone should be concerned with. By husband I were driving into to work and we got a phone call that someone was applying for a credit card in his name. He was able to stop that. Then two hours later he got a phone call from the company who monitors our credit that someone was trying to buy a BMW! What tipped them off was they were trying to change the address. So we immediately put a freeze on our credit so nobody can buy a cell phone, sign a lease, get a mortgage, open a bank account, nothing without us giving a password, LIN#.
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Reply to LisaNJ
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geeze oh pete. why do they do these things. smh.
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Reply to Bobbi48128
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my2cents Feb 24, 2021
Exactly. Those folks should be tied to a stake in a bed of Texas fire ants. Our older population has enough to worry about without having to deal with someone stealing all their money and ID. My mom's bank acct was compromised one time with the bank sending a new debit card to an out of state address. Bank returned all the money, but sure made me wonder why they did it in the first place. And she never gave out her personal info to anyone!!!
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The bigger picture--she will believe anything anyone says, if they seem "nice" or "official." She will soon be discovered by face-to-face scammers, if they haven't targeted her already. From small-time handyman scams, to replacing her roof or her furnace (even if roof or furnace does not need to be replaced). Beware the new "friend" who is "helping" her with her paperwork. Beware the boarder in her guestroom who appears out of nowhere, but mom trusts her because the boarder is a "friend of a friend." Beware the new housecleaner whose baby supposedly needs emergency surgery and mom volunteers to pay for it.
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Reply to Beekee
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Gnarley Feb 22, 2021
Thank you, I don't think we are too worried about in-person scammers, she lives in a 3 story rented flat and neighbors know her situation. MiL is frequently in touch with family and they'd likely know if something was amiss. Due to Covid, she is isolating and no one is allowed into her home unless prior arrangements have been made due to utility needs like a plumber, electrician, or ISP. It's the phone scammers that get her, not the in-person ones.
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Dementia phone that blocks all calls except the numbers you have pre-programmed into the phone. One brand is TeleCalm, there are others.
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Reply to Beekee
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jcubed821 Feb 23, 2021
Thank you for mentioning teleCalm! This is exactly what I need for my mother, and I would never have known about it without you. Many thanks!
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You might also consider requesting an Identity Theft PIN code from the IRS. With all that data, someone may try to file a return in her name.
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/identity-protection-pin-program-will-soon-be-available-to-taxpayers-nationwide#:~:text=Other%20ways%20to%20get%20an%20IP%20PIN&text=Taxpayers%20with%20income%20of%20%2472%2C000,PIN%20the%20following%20tax%20year.
Also, freeze her credit with all 3 credit bureaus. Cancel all credit cards if that wasn't done immediately. Make sure you know you got them all. Change passwords to everything.
And she has proven she is not safe with her financial data. Scammers are VERY slick. Time to take away the keys. Easier said than done, but if it happened once, it can happen again. Take whatever steps you can to prevent it.
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Reply to onemanband
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Gnarley Feb 21, 2021
Thanks for the great suggestion to the IRS PIN code!
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Just thought of something.   Could you give your MIL a set of fake numbers to give to a scammer?  And hide the new numbers?  That would still leave the need to protect her computer PW though.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Gnarley Feb 21, 2021
That would be great if she or others could remember in the heat of the event. I don't think she's likely to remember what to do as she wasn't able to remember that she isn't supposed to trust anyone calling and asking for her info. There seems to be a tipping point when the memory fades and our LO's can't recall what to do, it doesn't even seem to cross their mind during the event and oftentimes they realize after the fact and are embarrassed to ask for help. In this case, my SiL thinks it will get better and she'll learn from this. My reading here from others seems to indicate it never gets better.
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Gnarley, I think this is a perennial problem for older folks who don't realize they're being scammed.   It's easy for someone who recognizes a scammer to get rid of a potential thief, but hard for someone who doesn't realize that these people are criminals, and low-lifes. 

I wish I had some suggestions, but at the moment I don't.   I'm kind of overwhelmed with sadness for you, and your family, and not thinking too clearly.

If it's any consolation, you're not the only one facing this.    And fortunately you've taken action once recognizing the situation.  I am impressed with how much the family pulled together to help out and get past the situation.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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In order to "learn a lesson" one has to remember the negative thing that happened.
Since MIL probably won't remember it, it can happen again.
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Reply to XenaJada
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I think that you are right. Unless you are wealthy, you will probably need her money for her care. Maybe thinking of it like that will help your husband see how much things need to change.
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Reply to cxmoody
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Well--having a mother who still writes checks and balances her checkbook every month to the penny--I WISH she'd step back and let one of us handle her finances. She's quite secretive about it all, and as she doesn't have ANYTHING online, every time she has a problem, one of us has to go up to her house and iron it out. If she had online banking we could do it from OUR homes.

My MIL is the same way. She's terrified of identity theft, but has fallen for a few scams and without having instant access to her accts., it can take DAYS to straighten stuff out. MANY scammers work on the weekends in the knowledge that nobody can do much over the weekend.

If your MIL is of 'sound mind' you can't take her rights away to have a computer and online banking. But maybe SIL can have the info on her computer too, so she can check on a regular basis to make sure she's not being scammed. Since she has fallen for more than one scam, somebody has to have eyes on her. How amenable is she to a 2nd person being on her bank statements? That way someone is keeping track of what's going on and any scams would be caught quickly. I'd talk to her bank and see what they 'offer'. No doubt they encounter this dynamic frequently and can guide you.

I do not know how you would go about taking her rights to a 'private' account such as she probably WANTS--it's just one more reminder she's getting old.

I know with mom, that my YB sees her every other month for a quick check on things. She's been scammed, but for small amounts and we've been able to get back some of what she's lost. Basically, she's really cheap and so it's hard to get a nickel out of her.
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