My elderly mother was scammed twice by door-to-door contractors and lost money. What can we do? - AgingCare.com

My elderly mother was scammed twice by door-to-door contractors and lost money. What can we do?

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We do not live close by to watch her.

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One thing that I forgot to add is that my Dad and I are on opposite coasts and the closest child is a five hour drive away so we have to do as much as we can remotely. All of his bills are sent to me so that I can monitor and pay them.
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My father is 90 and lives alone and people are taking advantage of him all of the time. I had to learn that expecting him to suspect fraud is not realistic. To give you some examples of the types of things that people do that signs and police will not curb.

1. Extended appliance warranty - $1,800 per year for three years (a warranty came with the appliances in the house when he bought it. They followed up and so were not technically soliciting.)
2. New $7,000 V8 engine in his car
3. "Friend" who drives him on short excursions then allows him to pay for all of her meals and fill her gas tank.
4. Security system sales though he lives in a gated community in a very safe town.
5. Vitamins that are automatically mailed to him ($240 quarterly)

Most times, no one is there to intercept these people when they come to the house. However, I have electronic access to his credit card and bank accounts. When I see a suspicious charge, I call the vendor and cancel. If they resist, I tell them this is elder abuse and that I will report them to the state attorney general. Except in the case of the car engine where a product was installed, they have always credited my Dad's account. Also, all of my father's assets are in a trust and my sister and I are trustees. This means that he can't sign over assets to someone who does not have his best interests in mind. Trusts are not just for the wealthy. My Dad is a working class guy who saved up just enough to take care of himself into old age. The trust is to protect his assets from people who would take advantage of him.

This all takes time and is stressful. We are currently looking for an assisted living facility in order to protect Dad from scams and make sure he is safe.
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Taking phone off the hook is NOT a good idea, something could happen to her, and she wouldnt be able to reach out at all for any help! someone needs to step up to the plate and settle this before it beomes way too deep and way too many people get involved than necessary, something has to to be done though to prevent a BUSY signal whenever she fancies that ! That is not in her best interest, and me knowing the way I worry, I wouldnt be able to sleep knowing this kind of stuff is happening, and I have no way of doing anything right NOW to fix the situation. You guys must come to a solution and fast, beofre things get way outta hand and too late! please let us know what happened and how you handled this, we do care, or let me speak for me, I do care, and want to know what actually has been done to stop the drama, before its too late!! thanks, and the best of uck to you, and my sincere wishes to pull all this together and come to a solotion, so that eveyone can relax again and befoe more stable, and not so worried re: future issues!!! Susan
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THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP !!!!!

Some are very simple, yet I failed to think of them. I have mailed my mother two "No Soliciting" & "No Tresspassing" signs that she can post. I told her to be sure and post these. I just hope she does. I did my part. She has to do hers. Also, I added her phone number to the National Do Not Call List. This may also help. she is too cheap to get Caller ID, so she can't screen her calls. I am trying to get her to sign up for it. what she does now to avoid phone calls, she takes her phone off the hook which I think is a huge mistake should something horrible happen and any of us need to get her. Thanks again so much for your help.
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I live in a very large city and crime is everywhere. A no solicitors sign means nothing to scammers here. The one we have at work (small company) is totally ignored. My boss told me be careful what I say to these people for fear they'll get mad and retaliate or be waiting in the parking lot when we leave. It happens all the time. It's sad but that's life in the big city.
My mom opens her door to everyone and has been taken advantage of few times. She also refuses to screen her calls. I've heard her tell people "I don't need aluminum siding, I live in a condo alone, I'm a widow". Her neighbors are single women who act just like her. I told her to keep her guard up, act sensibly and zip her lip. Her answer to me was I should be ashamed that I don't have trust in people. Earth to Mom!!!!
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This makes my blood boil...luckily, for the people who scammed your Mom, it wasn't MY MOM that they did this to.
The NO SOLICITORS signs will deter any people trying to sell anything. But for your own satisfaction, call the police department in her town and let them know what has happened to her. Ask that they patrol more in her neighborhood, and the next time you are at her home, go talk to neighbors you can trust and ask them to keep an eye out for any strangers going door to door. The BEST way to get rid of a solicitor is to be RUDE, "CAN'T YOU READ THE SIGN? LEAVE OR I CALL POLICE!"
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1) Most communities require door-to-door solicitors to obtain a license to solicit there. So ask your mother and all her neighbors to ask to see this license before they talk to anyone about contracting work. Asking this question up front will usually scare off most potential scammers since they can be convicted of fraud if they are caught soliciting without a license.
2) If you did not do so, give a complete report of the prior scams to your mom's police department. They will spread the word and be proactive in keeping scammers out of the community. Most times older people are reluctant to report scams because they are embarrassed that they were fooled. This works in the scammers favor since the police cannot investigate them if no complaints were filed.
3) Enlist your mom's immediate neighbors in helping you keep an eye on her. Most neighbors will gladly help out if asked but do not want to intrude. My dad's neighbors seemed very aloof until I explained that I was concerned about him and asked them to call me anytime they noticed unusual behavior or strangers at the house. I got more help from them then I ever got from relatives who only lived 5-minutes away from my dad. It also helps to send a surprise gift to them at odd times just to let them know how much you appreciate their help.
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wow! that is totally disgusting, that people prey on the elderly like this! I dont know what I would do, but talk to her and tell her to ask who it is at the door, and if its someone she just doesnt recognize, tell her to tell them she is sick, and cannot open the door, tell her to send them to the next door meighbors! anything is better than her answering the door for strangers anyway! and the sign no solicitors is a good one too! or Guard Dog Beware! wish I could tell u more, but I really dont have an answer or even a great suggestion for this one, I feel bad, cause mom probably has a good heart, and people are desperate these days and will go to all and any lenthes! What idiots! I also understand that u cannot be there 24/7 as a security guard, but u could take some precautions.......good luck and let us know what happens if things improve!
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Put up a NO SOLICITORS sign on your mother's door, in English and Spanish. Put up a NO TRESPASSING/PRIVATE PROPERTY sign near the door as well. You might want to rig up a camcorder, perhaps one that can be triggered when the door opens. Install a set of prison bar outer door and window coverings. Put up a sign saying Property under Continuous Video Surveillance.

All together this sort of stuff says to the perpetrator, "better try another home, this one's got it figured out," even though the occupant is clueless.
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Get Financial POA. Stress the need to do so to protect her best interests.
OR call you before she makes any decision concerning these con men. I have had my mother do the same.
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