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Has anyone had a run in with phone/sweepstakes fraud? They are harassing my dad with calls. How can we get them to stop? I know, "Don't answer the phone." But these guys are relentless and calling up to five times a day. Around 10 pm this evening it was one right after the other. When I said he needs to stop calling he said F-you.
Started with sweepstakes in the mail. " You qualify for $X. Send us $X and you can win more." He did. He sent $9 here and $30 there. He usually overdraws his account monthly. If these people aren't calling then they sold his name to a group of Jamaicans who are ruthless. And obviously rude. We've talked with my dad and he says he won't do it again but then he does. Any suggestions???

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BTW, if any of you are trying to look it up Hedgie mis-typed, the proper acronym is nomorobo.
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I was told that phone service will not block any toll free or 800 type numbers, which is kind of silly since those are the ones that are the scams. In my state, people are urged to call the Attorney General or to file a complaint with the postal service if it is through the mail.
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Also want to add that I can block calls on my phone by adding unwanted numbers to Call Block list. If they call it rings once then disconnects call..
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Go to the website for NOROMBA (stands for no more robo calls) and see if it would work for you. We have seen a drop off in these kinds of calls. Unfortunately, it doesn't get rid of all of them. Good luck.
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When I got POA for my friends, I began to monitor their checking account and noticed several checks made out to magazine companies. When I had their address changed to my address when they went into AL Memory care, I noticed these "renewal" bills coming for the magazines. When I checked the labels on the magazines and noted for how many years ahead he had subscribed, I wrote to the magazines and asked to lower that to just a couple of years instead of 9 years and they eventually sent me refund checks. It wasn't the magazines doing this but magazine "billing companies." I also alerted out state attorney general about the renewal cards made to look like bills due and she has gone after these companies. Their response is to change the company name and address and continue on, but now since my friends' mail comes to me, I catch those. Fortunately when I intercepted a phone call to them and explained who I was and that they had to talk to me instead of them, the calls stopped. When my friends went to AL, I had the phone account closed. Closing your dad's regular phone line might be smart. Have a cell phone where you buy the minutes as needed for him to use to make calls. So far, scammers haven't found our number for our cell phone. Buying the minutes means no monthly expenses for services we don't use. Only those who legitimately need to phone your dad get the new number to use.
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we have had to change my dad's phone number and then get the phone company to put your dad on as unlisted, and or a do not call list...which did not work for us, but the unlisted number worked
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My dad is going through this with foreign scammers. The only way we are slowly beating them is to block the calls. We are doing this by transferring his landline to an internet line and keeping the number. The phone works the same but it gives him a webpage to access to block all the numbers or area codes he needs to. The company is called Ooma. Without them, our only option would be to change his number. Good luck! I feel your pain, believe me.
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bmltjjbjs8,

Check out our fraud and scams section to find other suggestions on how to stop your parent from sweepstakes abuse.

Quick Guide to Frauds & Scams
https://www.agingcare.com/Frauds-Scams

You can also try contacting these companies directly to have them take you of their mailing list. Or maybe the post office?

Karie H.
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I am desperately trying to stop all the junk mail which my father receives. He has been sending money for several years to different sweepstakes as a processing fee. We did not learn about it until last year. It had gotten so bad that friends were calling us and telling us that he was sending large amounts of money over seas believing that he had won millions. I am making a log of all the addresses and want to turn them into the authorities. The FBI said that they can not do anything to help. I will try the Dist Attorn and State Att. What else do you suggest?
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My Father has also been getting from 2 to 5 phone calls per day telling him that he has won a big prize and he just needs to send $XXX to them for some sort of fees, taxes, insurance or whatever else they think of. They want him to send it Western Union, Money Gram, or even to go to the local drug store and purchase a MoneyPak card. The calls are coming from out of the country on internet based lines that show either Las Vegas or Washington DC prefixes but they are coming from out of the country so the crooks have no fear of being caught. They are vicious and do not stop. I had his phone number changed and it helped for a while but then he answered another mail scam piece and provided his new number and we are back on the crazy train again. I have a new strategy - on the days when I am at his house I answer the phone and if it is a scam call I use the Fox 40 whistle that I used as a soccer ref. I blow it as loud as possible into the phone for them until they hang up. That thing is loud and shrill and it hurts their ears. Often they call back to swear at me in several different languages so they get more whistle. The calls are reduced in number and I hope they need hearing aids!!!!
There are two good whistles for this - The Fox 40 and the Tornado. Both are available at a good soccer shop or on line. Neither has a pea in it and they are so shrill and loud that you can stand 100 yards from a player and he will hear it.

Good Luck and Good Whistling

Norm
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We had to deal with this with my mother in law also. She was on lists and they would call her and then mail her a notice and some months she would mail out 400-600 a month in donations. She got caught up in the magazine scam. They debited her checking for over $500 for magazines she would never use. She was charged $30 a month for light bulbs and $30 a month for garbage bags. The list goes on and on.
We had to take control of her finances because she wasn't paying her bills and her insurances were cancelled. It was really difficult. But what we did was have my husband added on the account as a joint signature. She was also walking 2 miles to the bank and taking hundreds of dollars out every few days. It took 2 months for us to catch on to what she was doing. We have no idea what she did with all this money. She always had a problem with lottery tickets but I don't see how she could have spent that kind of money on lottery tickets.
Someone could have asked her to borrow money and she wouldn't remember within minutes. So we don't know if she gave it to someone or what happened.
I would make out her checks for her bills and she and my husband (her POA) would sign them. We took out her money monthly but only gave her small amounts at a time.
I called the federal number that puts your phone number on the "Do Not Call List". She agreed to credit cards and there were charges added for various things automatically that she didn't even know she had credit cards. Anyone I could get an address for I sent letters signed by my husband indicating that she had alzheimers and was no longer of sound mind. In the case of the credit cards I was able to get a few closed and the balanced erased. I sent letters to all the organizations that were asking for money.
But I want to prepare you. This was really difficult to do. She would be fine with us but then whenever she had a chance she would tell anyone who would listen that we were stealing her money and everything. But we didn't have any choice. She was going through everything. She wasn't paying her bills and the house insurance and her health insurance were being cancelled for non payment. It took her about a year to realize that she needed help.
Unfortunatly, the world would be a better place if we didn't have to worry about other people. People look for the elderly and they know exactly how to get what they want. We had a senior agency helping us and the driver offered to cut Mom's shrubs. I am sure she thought it was for free because my husband and I always did them. They worked about 3 hours by neighbors accounts and in Mom's checkbook, she marked 45.00 but when the check came in the check was for $450.00. They didn't even finish the job. We did get her money back but the employee did keep his job.
If we don't watch out for our parents, other people are watching to take advantage of them. I hope this helps...you are not alone. God Bless!
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I'd like to say that my mother has the same problem,she thinks blowing 8 thousand dollars is fine with her.she didnt pay the mortgage,or bills,nothing was going right,she is still interested,i have registered our phone number,the jamaican fella keeps calling us,we've changed our phone number,they still keeo taking,8,000.00 later vulture like people everywhere,this is insane and i cant stop it.
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I sympathise, and i understand fully. my mum has been sending money to people the past 2 years - police have been to the house to warn her she has changed her account and her phone nunber and the post office and her bank have spoken to her about these 'lottery wins' - she doesnt believe anyone - and thinks i am spoiling things if i tell her its not true - she still does it - sending money 20 pounds here and there - it is so frustrating. the worst thing was when she took out a credit card to get 1000 to send them two £500 payments- she got a taxi to take her to the bank and when they refused to do it as she had shown them the letter she went to another bank and said she needed the money drawng to send to her grandson, a lie. she has been cleaned out of her savings and sends them her pension now. I can't understand why she does it, she is 86 and has COPD and is in the last stage of bowel cancer, she has thrown away thousands and gets annoyed with me spoiling her fun. when the nasty phone calls started she stopped for a little while, but is back to it only hides the letters from me. Sometimes a neighbour picks up her post and gives it back to me to check but she has got another neigbour doing it now. The mail preference service only works if the receiver doesnt reply or send away for 'info' once you show interest thats it you cant stop the lottery letters and it is so maddening.
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GUYS:

Sorry about the typos. This year Spring came late and all these trees, flowers, etc. began to bloom at the same time. My eyes have been on fire for days, my sinus are inflammated (is that a word?) and I can't breathe long enough to sleep soundly. I'm so irritable I've written down the number of every telephone marketer across the country that's been harassing me for over a week and called them back at least 10 times.

I've tried being nice and polite, but it doesn't work. Some work from home and use their cellphones. If it's a man, I ask for my girlfriend (his wife); if it's a woman, well, figure it out. Yesterday was the first day none of them called to sell anything, only to apologize and promise me my # will be removed from their list immediately. My sanity is non-negotiable.

Okay family, let me see if I can go back to bed.

Always at your service,

-- ED
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GIRL:

Change the telephone # (preferably unlisted), and be careful whom you give it to. And avoid signing up for anything like sweepstakes, claiming a "free" laptop on the Internet. Just about everyone of them if a scam preying on people who don't know better. If there's a charge you don't recognize on your bank statement, call their claims department. I once ordered some business cards online and next thing I know at least 6 other companies (all under the same umbrella) began to charge "membership" fees at the tune of $14.95 a month. In a nutshell, stuff like this can usually be avoided if you don't give out personal information like DOB, SSN#, and your bank account #. There's no such thing as a free thing in this country. There never has been and never will be.

-- ED
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Just change his number, its easier. Tell the phone company he's
getting harassing calls - they won't charge you. I wish I had an answer, but the "do not call list" does not work and they "don't do anything" if someone calls you.- even if you report them
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If it's an actual phone number that shows up with my caller ID, I can block the call with my phone. But if it says 'out of area' 'unknown number' or etc I can't.
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We've been going through the Sweepstakes, Jamaican etc scams for a few years. I've had to change my mother's cell phone number. But then she will open some more scam mail again, fill out information so that they can reach her to give her her millions. And it all starts over again. One day a Jamaican actually got my 89 year old mother to take a cab to Western Union to send them $100.00. She wrote their name wrong and they could not get it. She told me she had to go to Western Union to fix a problem and thats when we found out what happened. They never got the money, that time. I am so fed up. I am going to try and have all our mail (we live together) to a PO box. But then they can still call her on the phone. There is so much bombarding her everyday and she does not understand that its all a scam. She really believes that she is a winner. Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. I wish I could offer some advise but nothing has worked so far.
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I had this problem, and Mom was on the do not call list, however, the caller told me they lived in another country & the do not call list did not apply to them. I finally changed her phone number, and had the phone listed under the cat's name & that stopped everything.
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If the caller ID shows an actual phone number, I can block that specific number with my phone. If, on the other hand it just says, 'out of area' or 'unknown' I can't. I have given money to someone at one time, but told them since to put me on their 'do not call' list. They say, oh yes we will, but they keep calling. It will ring every three to five minutes for an hour, and my phone lets it ring once, then blocks it.
I just wish I could stop the numbers that don't have a phone number listed.
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This seems to work for most all telemarketers, basically it detects when the call coming is is Auto generated via computer or similar device and simply blocks it, also I believe it emits a tone that erases your number from the callers computer system
I have used one of these for years, Works for Me!
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ya - change his number - i saw on intervention where some man was an alcoholic and they scammed him out of his whole half million dollar savings - do it now- change the number to unlisted
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The same thing happened with my mom. I had all the mail sent to a PO Box and went there a few days a week to pick up the mail and throw out all the scams. I would then put the "mail" in her mailbox. If she asked why there wasn't mail that a day I told her it was a holiday.
As for the phone scams there were two tricks that I had heard about and both were fun and sucessful. The first when I answered the phone I told them I would go get her. I put the phone down and 10 minutes later- oops they were gone. One time I had them on speaker and listened to them getting pissed off (remember, they are in a boiler room and are dialing for dollars- each minute they spend holding they are loosing a potential victim). My favorite thing was a loud whistle. When they called I had a whistle by the phone- a few loud blasts into the receiver and they never called back.
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@Ezcare & wittnitt, thanks! I'll send an email to my parents DA. Hope it's election time! And @wittnitt I'll look into that number blocking.
@ScarletBegonias: don't want to change the phone number. They've had it for 40+ years and he has Alzheimer's. He's gotten cranky when I change his sheets. I don't think he'd ever remember a new phone number. But I'm not completely ruling it out.
Thanks everyone for your help & suggestions!
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our phone service has a service that blocks up to 20 phone numbers. We use it quite often and update it every once in a while since most numbers come up on the caller ID. So far has helped a lot. Good Luck!
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Contact the District Attorney in your county and provide the details you gave here including the mail pieces and the phone log. He/she will handle it and you will not have to waste money on an attorney. Trust me on this. The DA will act fast and be effective. Why? There is no better publicity in the local paper than "DA twarts foreign scam artists preying on local elderly"
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As already mentioned getting on the 'do not call list' is a wise idea. If these are not 'robo calls' you can also tell whomever it may be of these intentions to do so, and they will be fined. You can also contact the media of this--and they will cut thru any possible red tape for you-and get this problem resolved.

As for the mail---I do not know if they can decide what may be a scam or not...but again you can run this by your postal department.

You may also want to discuss matter with your local chapter of AARP or senior service organization.

Good luck-

Hap
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ThirdCoastGirl: Could you just have his phone number changed? I know that it might cost some money, but it might save you guys a lot of money and trouble in the long run.

Good luck! :)
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Call your state Attorney Generals Office, Consumer Div. They can help also.
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Have a attorney write up a letter and send it certified indicating this is the last effort to stop the harrassment, (which has been repeatedly been previously asked and not adhered to) next step will be prosecution. It might scare them.
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