Paranoid Mom scammed again, Dad passive. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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Earlier this year my mother paid many thousands of dollars to a landscaping company to trim some trees on some property adjacent to theirs. The land actually belongs to the city, which my parents know as they have been in their house forever. The city trims those trees (free) once a year. I ask my father about this and he seems a little indignant, but sort of laughs and says well it's her choice. WHAAAAA?


Now my mother was using the web and a pop up ad flashed. "YOU HAVE BEEN HACKED. CALL 1 800 SCAM ME!" Yes, she called the number and they directed her to a web page where she downloaded their software, then she told them the admin password to the computer, then they asked her to send a check for over $1000, which she did. So now these scammers have had full access (for days) to the computer, which, of course, has all their personal and banking info on it. Not just that but my father had a file with all his logins and passwords and all their children and grandchildrens' social security numbers. (They had the grandkid info to set up 529Ks.) I only found out about this because my father said, Heh heh, look your mom paid a company $1000 for tech support. After he understood what happened it almost sounded like he was bragging, "We were hacked!" I have to pay for identity theft insurance for myself and kids for the rest of our lives.


These are just the scams I know about. I try to talk to my father about limiting her access to money and he just acts like there's nothing he can do. (I have no control though they did finally set up a POA that kicks in should they both become incapacitated.) However, she is super paranoid when it comes to family. Crazy, crazy paranoid. I had an aunt and cousin fly across the country to visit and my parents went out to dinner with them and paid for their dinner. Treating out-of-town guests to dinner is a normal, classy thing to do. For my mother there has been no end to complaining how that aunt and cousin were exploiting them! Like they flew across the country to scam my folks for a $100 dinner. Plus my mother has keyed indoor locks on all the closets and some of the rooms. She locks these closets and rooms whenever family comes over but leaves it all, including the front door, unlocked when no family is around.


One day a stranger knocked on their door and asked to use the restroom. She let him in. He asked for water so she invited him into the kitchen. He asked her for a house tour. Why yes, she showed the man the whole house. Thank heavens he left. The police showed up later that day because the man (a violent ex-con) had knocked on every door in the neighborhood. Only my mother let him in and the police told her that she had just helped the man case her own house. Fortunately he never showed up again. However my mother dialed 911 when she thought she saw someone in the yard. It turned out to be a deer eating out of her bird feeder.


Thanks as usual for letting me vent. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It is so hard to accept that there is nothing I can do.

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Tell your Dad you can take the computer in to have it swept for malware. Then actually do get somebody who's up to date on security to check it out and advise what options might help - but don't just leave it with that software installed.

Hadn't you better report the theft of the social security data? And tell other family members to do the same? maybe they'll issue you with new ones - which you don't give your Dad!

It is just a-maaaaaazing how credulous people can be. My mother printed off an email from a "student nurse" in Kenya who "needed help to finish her training" - uh-huh - and took it to my aunt, who sent her fifty quid! These two were graduates, one an experienced computer user, the other a doctor, neither actually an idiot... and getting them to understand that this was simply the direct equivalent of somebody stopping you in the street and saying "give me your money please..."

The scammers don't really need to be that sophisticated, do they? People just tell them to come on in.
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bokbokbok, oh dear, you have our hands full, especially if Dad is passive regarding what your Mom is doing.

Now, I can fully understand the pop-up ads saying one's computer has been hacked. I had an ad where the ad held hostage my computer unless I called them. No way, no how. I just unplugged the computer and started it up later. But at first such ads look like the real thing so I could understand your Mom thinking this was ligit.

Not much we can do as long as our elders are using computers. My Dad used his computer until it became too confusing for him. Dad would set up passwords that were so complex that he wasn't able to remember it. Well, that solved that problem... whew.

Curious, was Dad at home when your Mom was giving the grand tour of her home?

Have your parents signed up to have their credit frozen? That can be easily done through all 3 of the major credit bureaus. That will keep outsiders from trying to get loans and credit cards under your parents social security number. The same should be done for the children's social security. The cost is usually $10 per service bureau per person [some States such service is free].
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