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I’ve seen the letter opener and Christmas ball-like items, bearing the charity’s name, on her table. She tells me a rep stops by her house with the items.


Mentioned this at my caregiver’s support group of 14. Got deer-in-the-headlight looks . . .

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If it is a well-known and reputable charity, I should give them a friendly call, reassure them first that you have no desire to influence your mother's charitable impulses so they need not fear her contributions will cease, but remind them that there are codes of conduct about their relationships with elderly and vulnerable donors and you feel they are being overly intrusive. Occasional acknowledgements and thanks are fine, quarterly newsletters are fine, but cultivating the kind of committed relationship they're after - her Christmas decorations??? Sticking their brand on her desk??? - is not on, and visits to her home from fundraisers are bang out of order. They should back off.

If the well-known charity is not reputable, or rather has a reputation for strong-arming, I should find your mother a better one that addresses roughly the same aims.
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Katsmihur Oct 2019
Will call tomorrow to verify donor visits are their norm. If so, they will get an earful.
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My father would get little "gifts" (bribes, in reality) as tokens either of past donations or inducements for future donations.   Part of this practice is I think "guilting" the recipient into donating.   And the "gifts" typically are either branded or related to the charity's alleged purpose.                                       

No one has ever come in person to deliver "gifts."   The thought of that raises my alert sense to high; this is totally inappropriate IMHO.

Does the same person come each time?   Is any acknowledgment provided with the "gift"?    And does your mother give her donations to this individual, or does she mail them?  If she gives a check to the person, I'd contact her bank and ask who has endorsed the checks.    This sounds like a scam. 

I'm wondering though if your mother still receives requests through the mail, of documentation and acknowledgment of her donations and well as pleas for more donations.
 

As others have advised, I would call the charity ASAP and raise the issue; it wouldn't surprise me if they're unaware of this practice.  And if they haven't sanctioned it, the next call should be to the police, to alert them.  It may be that this scammer is scouting out houses to burglarize, or whatever.

Since your posted this in the Frauds & Scams section, I think you already are wondering the same thing.


I have a "NO SOLICITING" sign on my door, listing in part the kinds of solicitors who are unwelcome:   That includes salespeople for windows, construction, pizzas, religion, lawn service, magazines and more.  Two women once ignored that, brazenly pushing their cause.   

So I monitored them; they rested for a while in a car parked across the street.  I had an errand to run anyway, so I drove slowly past the car, jotted down the license plate number, then called the police on my cell phone and advised that there was a suspicious car that had been parked on the street for some time and asked that they check it out.
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Thankfully I have never really had many solicitations, either at my previous house or this one....with one exception. The bible pushers. Religion is fine for those who want/need it, and I am fine with people who believe, but going door to door to push this is, at least for me, wrong. Mail invites if you need to draw in more people, but stay off my lawn!!! I realize the face-to-face might seem more "personable", but how many times/ways can I say NO!?!?!?!

Even after telling them I am not interested, they would still occasionally show up AND try multiple ways to keep me tied up. UGH. I keep meaning to put a sign at the end of my long driveway to discourage them. Somehow I don't think this will stop them.

One time it almost ended in disaster - I was on my way out and opened the garage door via opener in the car - as I prepared to back out, they are DAMN lucky I happened to glance back, as they were parked RIGHT behind me!
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I like the ideas of putting up a camera and also no solicitation. You might want to notify the police of a possible elder scam in the area. Sorry you’re going through this.
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Katsmihur Oct 2019
Great idea, but she won’t let my husband fix her outdoor light. There is no way she’ll agree to an outside camera installation.

10/30 PCP appointment, if Mom goes, hoping visit begins the path to a diagnosis.
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Mom won't allow installation of a camera? Or allow replacement of a light? Sometimes we just have to do what we know will help keep them safe. Take mom out for the day, lunch and movie and have that handy hubby of yours take care of the light and install a camera. Mom probably won't even notice.
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Psyclinz Oct 2019
Great comment! Oh how I wish I had done this with my own parents... "just do it", it's not disrespecting them, it's absolutely the opposite. It's taking steps to ensure that these predators' disrespect of our elders is prevented!
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MIL gets tons of these things through the mail, but never had anyone come in person. That does strike me as odd. Could she be mixed up or saying it was a visit, but it really was just something through the mail?

You definitely have a weird situation here.
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I could write a book on my battle with my mother and her giving money to “charity” - I’m know many were worthwhile causes but some were just nuts - the pig sanctuary for one - any many were upright bogus. Anyhooo -

By the time my mother passed away she had boxes and boxes of greeting cards, wrapping paper, little cheap blankets, dream catchers, note pads, Tibetan prayer flags - and much, much more. But over the three or so years that this was an issue - never, ever, did anyone show up to her apartment in person.

Id be pretty worried, if I were you. See if you can find a way to get your mom to set an appointment with this person - then make sure you’re there to have a little chat with them. Let them know you’ll involve the police if they don’t stop coming around.
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Pigs? Wow! That’s crazy.
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This is very odd. I have come across a lot of scams, and I wonder if the caller has some way to get the little ‘gifts’ from the charity, its warehouse, employees etc. Then uses them to go and collect donations for the pocket. I think that’s more likely than checking out the house for burglary. Definitely check with the charity.
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Katsmihur Oct 2019
Your suggestion is scary and one I thought of right away upon learning of rep visits. Calling charity tomorrow. Thanks for your confirmation.
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Any chance your mother is not reporting this correctly? In other words, are people REALLY coming by her apartment to drop off gifts or is her mind playing games with her, perhaps? At the quarterly care meeting I had today at mom's memory care, I mentioned how hard it is for me to sort through the bull and the $hit she tells me these days.

Just a thought.
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Katsmihur Oct 2019
Absolutely could be a chance! Along with changes in her perception of reality, lack of self-awareness in social situations - yes, this definitely could be a possibility, from what I see. Scary situation as she’s in her home, by herself. Happy that your Mom is in MC and can be monitored.

Thanks for your answer - appreciate being validated and heard.
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My mom likes to give to St Judes and I sent a small donation for her a few month ago. Since then she has been getting "gifts" from them every week. This does make me sort of angry,, these gifts and the postage are now more than I sent! I also sent a small amount to the Shriners.., so far no useless gifts from them! I know who we will donate to next year! But no person has ever shown up in person to get money.. this makes me nervous.. You say it is a well known charity.. give them a call
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Katsmihur Oct 2019
I will definitely give them a call tomorrow. She has given monthly for 2-3 years but hasn’t mentioned giving $ to rep showing up at the door. And she does not have $, but does have reverse mortgage. Ugh.
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Katsimihur, uh oh.  This does not sound good.  "Gift Planning Rep" sounds to me like another name for someone soliciting a Legacy donation.   And "visit to sign paperwork"?    Right in line with someone seeking a Legacy donation.    These people are after your mother's money.  

And a "regional office" that doesn't answer its phone or have voice mail?   Another bad sign.  

This makes my blood boil! 

I assume  you searched on the number to back trace it?  And got no hits?  

It might be time to file a complaint with the BBB as well as the charity monitor I mentioned.  If I can remember the names of the others, I'll post them for you.

The IRS has a list of fake charities, or those who aren't legitimate 501(c)(3)s, or who/which have been subject to disciplinary action.    Several hits are similar, but there are a few different ones to check out.   If this so-called charity is on the list, and is still soliciting, the IRS would probably like to know about it.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=IRS+list+of+fake+charities&t=h_&ia=web

ETA:  so they acknowledged she gave them money but wouldn't tell you the details?   A good charity would not EVEN acknowledge that someone gave money.    Another red flag.  

What are your next plans?   
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lealonnie1 Oct 2019
Great idea! And she should call the local television NEWS to come do a report about ELDER ABUSE under the guise of CHARITIES!!!
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