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My 77-yr-old father just gave his bank account number to a phone number that comes up online as being connected to a financial scam. I made a complaint online and I called his bank to find out what can be done. It isn't much: watch the account for suspicious activity which can then be disputed, or close the account. It's so hard to know what to do. I've warned him not to give out info to people over the phone, but I can't stop it every time. I'm sure there was some slick sales pitch, and he doesn't stand a chance against something like that. Anybody else have parents that still use the phone and are in danger of becoming victim to a scam? How do you handle it? I don't monitor my father's phone calls. It's his house, I want him to have his freedom. I think this incident may have gotten his attention for the moment, but he'll forget soon enough, and a smooth talker is going to get his info right out of him. :-( I REALLY wish the Do Not Call lists actually worked... but criminals aren't going to respect a DNC anyway.


I don't think there's much I can do to prevent this from happening again. But... it's really bothering me right now, so I thought I'd ask if anyone else has similar experience.

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Hi Alison - sorry about this happening, Book and others have good suggestions. When mother was still using the phone she once gave out her credit card number to scammers, Fortunately she realised right away she should not have and went to the bank and dealt with it. Not long after that she kept forgetting her PIN number and then eventually sent all her banking stuff to me to deal with. We were very fortunate that she realised she could not cope with it.

You write "It's his house, I want him to have his freedom". I understand that feeling well and also remember being in the "grey area" where my mother could cope with some things, but not with others. It is a time where you need to make decisions between their safety and their desires - keeping them happy and as independent as possible. There are some issues that require the decision to come down on the side of safety. Applying that is not always easy. There is no way I could have "forced" or "coerced" mother to hand over control of her finances to me. Others have been able to take over without too much upset - doing it slowly bit by bit, or quickly if the situation warranted it. I think losing money to scammers is too big a price to pay for his freedom, if you are able to intervene somehow - whether it be by monitoring phone calls or whatever. It sounds like dementia is progressing and, accordingly, your actions on his behalf need to be stepped up. Getting POA in some form is great, If he balks this time, try it again later. I explained to mother that this was for her interests only - in case she became debilitated due to, for example, a stroke and could not look after her own affairs. The person who was really the one who got her to agree to setting up POA was her financial advisor. Some one professional your dad knows may be successful. Good luck to you!
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Book - about POA... I've been up and down so many times with my father about this issue. One day he agrees to it, the next he doesn't. It definitely hurt my efforts when my older bro told my father that he didn't need one. ("You know nothing Older Bro" - said in my Game of Thrones voice... anyway, lol) Yesterday a woman from his insurance called him. I thought it was about the fraud, so I got on the phone and she was talking to me about my consent form I have on file with them, and that I should get my dad's POA. (She said this to me and my father.) She said to me to forgo the attorney, just print out a DIY POA from online, take it into bank, have them notarize. My dad heard her give him this advice so I'm going to try this and see if it will work. It's better than nothing. I'm not getting my hopes up that he will do it, but it's simple enough, so I'm going to try this route. (((hugs)))
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Trust me, ABB, I worry that when dad progresses in the senility road, he will no loner have the sense to NOT release information. That is my worry. As for dad, when I found out that he gave his bank account number, I confiscated his statements and checkbook and put it away. Now, he won't be able to give them his bank account. He no longer can remember our mailing address - unless sis gives it to him. He no longer remembers he has a social security number nor our house number. He's going downhill mentally and still refuses to give us POA. I've tried several times and he refuses. We each have our trials when dealing with the parent/spouse. I'm still waiting for him to make a formal complaint that I'm stealing his money. He's having a bit of problem understanding his monthly income vs. his spending habits. He thinks money grows on trees....
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Hi book! I had a talk with my dad about how people aren't always who they say they are on the phone, that he should be cautious and he should never give out info over the phone. We've had the same discussion before, but it's been awhile. I showed him on the Caller ID the name and number for the scammers and told him to hang up on them or don't answer if that person calls again. They called 6 times today... that's the only thing that tipped me off to find out who this was, is that his phone kept ringing. Thanks for the links to other threads about this. Big (((hug))). Hope you're good.
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Hi Abb. My dad gave his bank account over the phone. I caught it a month later when I was reconciling his checking account. I asked him about it and he insisted he did not give his bank account number. I called the bank and told he had to come in person to stop the automatic monthly payments.

When we arrived, I stayed in the waiting area and dad saw the lady. She was very nice, very patient and explained to dad with emphasis that he must never give any information over the phone- not his address, not his bank account.

When he told me this, I also told him on a regular basis not to give any information over the phone. When I get the computer scammers calls, After hanging up, I explain to him what's happening. They would call daily and I kept hanging up. There was a story in the tv news of an elderly scammed, after it ended, i brought it up to dad and shook my head. Telling him that they Tricked the old man and they took his money. Dad said with authority that you should never give any information over the phone.

He would tell me that he got a call and that he didn't give anything out. When they tried to get his address, he refused because they should know it. When he tells me this, i reinforce it.

Here are some ideas from previous questions... There were more but I'm late...

https://www.agingcare.com/questions/stop-senior-with-dementia-from-being-scammed-154615.htm?cpage=1

https://www.agingcare.com/questions/My-Dad-is-a-victim-of-phone-and-mail-
scams-which-he-can-t-recognize-as-scams-He-honestly-thinks-he-w-140159.

Last few comments have ideas...
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/prevent-elderly-becoming-scam-victims-138455.htm
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I did call the customer service at my father's bank and told them what happened. This person was the one who gave me the 2 options to monitor the account, then dispute if fraudulent charges were made to it, or close the account. So I did make them aware, but I definitely got the feeling they see this issue often, and there's little they can do to proactively block, or catch, fraudulent charges/withdrawals. ?
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Thanks, all. Thank you for that link, GardenArtist. I do want to make other ("more official") complaints. The one I made so far was on a site that listed the number called from and related complaints. Seems there are a few of those type of websites out there.

I can't take away his checkbook. Unfortunately that's not an option. I did transfer the majority of the money in the account for now so that if the scammers do try to get money, they'll only get a small amount. A new account would be the right thing, but my father is saying he doesn't want to do that. I explained that if they took his money, he would have to dispute the transaction, and he said he would rather do that.

I try to respect his choices, even if my opinion is that they're poor choices. I do intercept most of the solicitation mail and I keep an eye on all of his accounts.

Thanks very much for the input (and jokes! lol). I knew I couldn't be the only one with this issue.
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Off topic, but adding hopefully a bit of humor....I like the solicitations that include a SASE, especially the ones for credit cards. I cut out all the personal information, then substitute fictitious names and info. I just sent one back to one of the aggressive credit card issuers advising that I lived at the North Pole, that the reindeer were ill or too old to soar through the world sky in 24 hours, that people were giving more to the Tea Party than to charity, and that I needed an immediate interest free cash advance check for $1M. I only wish I could be a "fly on the wall" and see their reaction when they open the SASE, unfold the application and watch all the shredded junk mail fall out on their desks, then read my silly response.
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If possible go on-line to the 3 major credit bureaus and "freeze" your Dad's credit. It is very easy to do on-line, and the last time I froze my own credit it was $10.00 for the freezing fee at each credit bureau, and in some States there is no fee. That keeps someone from trying to steal one's credit identity as if a person is trying to open up credit somewhere, they won't be able to do it.

As for my own Dad, the Caregivers answer the phone and give the caller the third degree :) Or if my Dad answers first, the Caregiver will stand close enough to hear the conversation and will stop the call if it sounds suspicious.
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One thing that has worked is to accept that he's going to answer the phone, but if he doesn't know the person, make silly noises. At one point my father enjoyed making strange sounds to these scammers - he got a kick out of it.

Another is to get a submarine horn, or a boat horn, whistle, or something else and encourage him to blow it into the telephone whenever the call is from someone he doesn't know.

The sad thing is seniors are lonely and these scammers know how to manipulate that to their advantage.
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I also would close the bank account, providing as much information as possible to the bank so it can catch the scammers when they attempt to access the funds.

And if you can get away with it, don't give your father the new account number.

I wouldn't rely on the bank or wait to "watch for" suspicious activity. I'm dealing with something like this now. Given that the checks were presented to the bank before I even learned about the situation, the funds are gone and can't be recovered. I wasn't alerted. So make the account unavailable so that th bank can't "accidentally" honor the check.

You can report the scam/attempted scam to the FTC. More information is here:

https://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumer-protection

I'm sorry to say that I think you're not alone in this situation. Something you might do is cancel his existing credit card and have a new one issues which you can use to get what he needs, but leave him with the old one. If he gives that to scammers, they won't get very far.

I have repeatedly said "don't answer any calls if you don't recognize the number" but I might as well be telling Mother Nature not to produce any storms.
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For now, I would go to the bank and remove the money from this account. Transfer it into a savings account at the bank so that the scammers have no access to the funds. If they try to withdraw any money, it will come back to them as insufficient funds. Make sure that you do not have overdraft protection on the account. If charges appear later, talk to the bank and let them know what happened. Chances are good that they will remove the charges. If the scammers persist your only option is to close that account and open a new one.
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I don't imagine he has his bank account/credit card # memorized, so could you make sure he doesn't have access to the numbers? What if you gather up his bills and statements and take them home for "safe keeping", or set up paperless accounts so he never sees them in the first place?
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