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Good morning all!! I'm just at my wits end with my FIL. We are hoping to get an assessment soon to see if there is any chance he has dementia. He has signs but he is also home and in the bed a lot, and not having any social outlet could potentially mimic the signs (per the home health nurses), so we really need an official diagnosis to know which direction to go with this. My SIL just called and his frugal nature is all that stopped him from getting scammed, he didn't want to put his credit card information in for a small 'fee' they wanted to charge and called my BIL into the room to help him (get a free Samsung Galaxy S20 for only $1 - when is he going to understand if it sounds too good to be true it probably is...apparently people out there in the world want to please HIM so much they have these offers just for him!!) That is all that stopped him from putting his credit card info into a random popup....my head hurts from banging it so hard on the wall now.
We have talked and talked, and given him examples of people who have lost everything to scammers and if he doesn't have some cognitive decline then he is even more narcissistic than we have believed up to this point. If he is not in cognitive decline then he actually believes that he and only he is above scamming, that he will not fall for it - even though he HAS a number of times and just got lucky that BIL or SIL walked in on his conversation or his typing information. I just don't know what to do anymore. I've posted questions about this several times before and received great advice. But at this point, I feel like the best thing we can do is let him get scammed. We've told him that if he does, it isn't like a legitimate business where we can potentially get his money back. That tracking down a scammer involves police reports and locking accounts/closing accounts and even then we won't likely get his money back. I do not know what more we can do. Taking away his phone and computer and turning off internet activity seems to be the only other option and may open a can of worms that cause even more trouble. But at this point I'm wondering is it terrible to just let him fail? Just let him get scammed and pay the price? I don't know what else to do.

Can you in good conscience let that happen? I bet not.

My mom is pretty cheap, so scamming her, while it happens, happens on a small scale and since YB checks her bank statement frequently, nothing too big shows up. She mostly gives to 'charities'.

You COULD simply take his CC's away and replace them with ones that you pre-load with a smaller amount. Keep them loaded with a couple hundred dollars and then when the scammers try to run a large amount through--it will be declined. Dad may be embarrassed, but it's better than being broke.

Sadly, the one and only time I got 'scammed' I KNEW who had done it. Gave the police the guy's NAME and place of business and they did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING since the damage was under $500 and I got it all back.

I personally went back to this business and talked to the owner, pointing out to him the actual person who had taken my CC info. Said I had talked to the police and they weren't going to do anything, but I was! said I would tell everyone I knew about this.

I never used this business again and never will. This brought home to me how easy it is to get scammed. After this, we did go with pre-loaded CC's for mother. She can't really BE scammed, as she doesn't understand what a CVC # is nor remember her SS number.
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BlueEyedGirl94 Jan 11, 2021
The truthful answer is "no" we can't in good conscience allow it to happen. The only problem is that I don't know if we have a choice. My FIL is a raging narcissist. NO ONE is allowed to have access to his finances currently ( he is currently competent to make his own choices and take care of his own finances). We can't just take his cards away, he'll just request replacements and call them stolen (for most people this would be quick and easy, but guaranteed he would do something to cause issues, he regularly loses cards and has to go through the process). I honestly don't think it is beyond the realm of realistic to expect him to call the police if we took away his cards. He is already accusing us of holding him hostage due to COVID. He has at least 9 credit cards that we are aware of. And we are about 90% sure that he recently applied for a home equity loan or line. He refuses to share his financial information with anyone. My DH is his POA but it is not currently active because he is still considered competent to make his own choices. We can't take him to court for guardianship, there isn't enough evidence that he can't manage his own finances because we keep interrupting him making unwise choices. I'm convinced a judge would laugh in our faces if we tried for guardianship. He is one of those that can talk a good game when he has to, and very few people see the forgetfulness, easy prey to scams, increases in forgetting to pay bills or not remember who he has to pay. We need to start tracking those occurrences I would imagine.

I feel like I always make excuses when people offer suggestions and advice. I would LOVE to be able to take the advice for doing so many things, but in his case I don't think we have the ability to do a lot of these things.

In his mind, he is 100% able to do anything he chooses and at any time he chooses. He is 90+% immobile and his cognition is at the very least decreasing at what is a normal rate for his age and his isolation. But the narcissism plays such a huge part in how we can and can't deal with him! He is horrible to deal with on a good day. I just don't know what to do anymore.
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You know, you could call the charge card companies. Problem is that they may not deal with you without your having POA and they MAY take his cards away, period. But why in the world he needs credit cards I am not sure, and you can arrange the prepaid kind if you must.
When my brother moved to assisted living I became the Trustee of Trust for him and his POA for financial and I took over all bills, and had all bills sent to be, sending the POA to his one credit card. They allowed this and added me to his account to check information, and they sent a letter I had to sign saying that this person was considered capable of making charges and that I agree to notify them when the person was considered incapable of doing so. So I was basically beholden to let them know. He died before he descended further down into his Lewy's Dementia.
IF you have the card number you can call and just ask what should be done in your circumstances. As I said, if you take this into your own hands, then you can lose him his cards all together or get nowhere. I doubt there is a good inbetween without POA. But, yes, your Dad is in danger and it can happen QUICKLY that there is a huge change.
Just before his death, my bro, who was onto all scams and enjoyed being so, and enjoyed his control, and had been all his life so careful, got the "Social Security call". Because I was in charge of everything, sending him end of month accounting of all "in and out" activity on his money, I also got his bank account statements. He was clearly upset in this call and said "I kind of know I am losing it because I am wondering if this call is legitimate and I KNOW I should know it is NOT. But they said they didn't deposit my check and won't again until I provide them.......................blah blah...............so just reassure me that my SS check went into my account. " I assured him. But I knew, and he knew, he was getting to a bad place sooner rather than later.
Good luck. What an awful thing that these folks are such prey for these scams.
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Hello,
I’m sure you’re completely over it, but if you were up for cutting back the incoming spam:
How computer savvy is he? Can you access it? You could add a VPN as well as ad and pop up blockers to reduce the unsolicited popups. Most browsers offer these as extensions under their ‘preferences’ tab. If he has a microsoft or google account encourage him to tighten up his privacy settings. He may like the opportunity to reduce his online profile. Could you talk him into applying them himself? It will reduce site tracking and help his pages load faster, which is how we got my Mom to let us do that for her. We just started a conversation about how awesome it was to have and how much better it felt to know my information wasn’t being used without my permission, and then she wanted it too.
Maybe also push to have him set up some filters in his email so that spam goes to junk mail.
For the phone, if it’s an issue, can you limit incoming calls to his contact list, or use something like a spam catcher? There are several out there that are apps for smart phones, and also ones that act like an answering machine but that also block calls for land lines. Sounds like he’d have to be onboard for that though. You must be exhausted. Good luck!
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sunshinelife Jan 18, 2021
pop up blocker, fire wall, privacy setting..great idea..and telling him how it will benefit his online..working 'with' instead of trying to shut him down, double smart...some of the comments sounded like prison guards lol!..would you mind sharing what apps you prefer for your recommends. thanks :)
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It may be best to leave it alone for your own peace of mind. He’ll most likely back himself into his own corner.

Financial institutions themselves are not above being scammed or scamming customers. Wells Fargo Bank had an infamous episode a few years ago.

Banks are policing themselves heavily. Your dad’s cards might not be replaced so readily if his string of being a victim grows. It makes him look incompetent at best and a scammer himself at the worst. That affects his ability to get a 2nd mortgage and other financial transactions.

Best to let him learn his own lessons.
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sunshinelife Jan 18, 2021
point is, the man shes speaking of hasn't been scammed, & the lady failed to say how long he's been online...probably a few years im guessing
..my grandfather does the same pattern..talking to scammers on the phone most days...its been a few years now. We get junk in the mail from some of these conversations at times, he says its free.
i have encouraged my grandfather to call his friends, old work colleagues etc..hoping he'll stop with the scammers...he continues on talking to the scammers...hes happy as he is...i don't badger him about it any longer...
you are correct about the banks....the Armenians ripped off Bank of America for multiple millions recently. Ive never had trouble getting money back.
once i left 500 i withdrew in the atm machine at the bank..in the machine..true story...and the bank checked their cameras & replaced the money in my account within 2 days.
banks have solid insurance...and accounts are generally covered
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Can you 'child proof' your FIL's computer?

https://www.google.com/search?q=child+proofing+a+computer&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS896US896&oq=child+proofing+a+computer&aqs=chrome..69i57.7661j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

If DH has financial POA for his father, he DOES have some rights. He can call the credit card companies and put a flag on his accounts, letting them know that his dad has dementia & any charges over a certain amount should not automatically be processed (or something on that order). The worst that can happen is nothing; the best that can happen is the credit card companies agree to help you.

It definitely sounds like FIL has dementia; they do all sorts of things to get themselves into trouble not realizing their reasonings skills are lacking. Versus someone without dementia, like my late father. When he turned 90, he REALIZED he couldn't pay proper attention to bills and finances anymore *he had a brain tumor* so he requested that I take over his financial affairs for him. A demented person would not realize they needed help and would insist they had it all under control.

That said, you may not wind up with a choice about whether to let him fail or not. Some things just have to happen.........like he DOES get scammed out of money and SEES for himself the repercussions of his actions. But again, it may not stop him from doing it AGAIN if he does have some type of dementia at play.

Wishing you the best of luck trying to stay one step ahead of your FIL
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Reply to lealonnie1
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What's the chance of him getting scammed and not learning from it because he won't remember it? Probably pretty good.

It's time to cancel the card, or heck, get him a preloaded Visa debit card and don't put any money on it. He can give out that number all day long, and it'll be worthless to scammers.
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I would get the account closed for the credit card he has. Then he can give the number out all he wants and will not be defrauded.

Have the POA do this to ensure that the account is noted and flagged for identity theft and that the POA is the ONLY AUTHORIZED person.

Most companies are happy to work with us to protect everyone from fraudulent transactions.

Best of luck, this is a difficult situation for sure.
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AlvaDeer Jan 11, 2021
I don't think he has a POA or is judged incompetent yet, RealyReal. The OP says there are plans forthcoming for assessment in future. So that makes this more tough.
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AlvaDeer that is correct. Currently he is and I guess should be treated as anyone else..competent to live or die by his own choices. Our biggest roadblock is telling narcissism from cognitive decline. Even if he recognized he was in decline the narcissism would prevent him from ever admitting it.
POA is " in place" but not activated because he is still competent on paper.
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AT1234 Jan 14, 2021
In the same boat. Unless guardianship, there is no remedy. Put someone else on the account so it requires two signatures. Dementia can be very tough bc they seem very with it one day and not the next.
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I wish I had helpful advice, but I’m sitting with a lot of braces, stickers, and other junk my mother ended up with and multiple fraudulent cc charges that luckily her bank has caught. She thinks she is smarter than the scammers; the junk she has “bought” says otherwise. It helped getting her landline removed, but we are still battling with it. We also are not allowed to know her finances, but I have a back door into her bank account just to make sure all is okay there.
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For one thing, maybe cancel his credit card account(s) and move all but a token sum out of any bank accounts he may have.
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You have said that there is little or nothing you can do. So that is what you can do, pretty much nothing. If he ends up losing a large amount of money you can try to get it back for him but as we know it is difficult or impossible once the money is gone. It’s like watching a slow motion train wreck.

If no one has current POA and he is competent to destroy himself, unfortunately I think you just have to stand back and watch it happen.

You could call the local department of aging or whatever you have in your community and see if you could get an outside person to talk to him or convince him to give up his financial independence.
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Some anti virus software has a data protection aspect to it. I cant input my credit card number without a password. Maybe phones have the same safeguard
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Set up a password or PIN for credit card purchases on his computer and phone just as you would for a child.
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It's time to have the discussion with him about his wishes if he becomes incapcitated. Maybe use the approach that in these days of covid, everyone should be prepared for the worst. One sign of dementia is poor judgement about finances. Do you have POA? Make sure all of his paperwork is in place for you to be able to take over his financial affairs while he is still capable of signing forms. You need POA also for medical decisions and he should have a living will that explains his wishes for medical care. If he has assets, he should have a will. Some banks and financial institutions have their own POA forms. If you have POA, can you set up his bank account and credit card accounts to get online access so that you can check what's going on? You may have to check daily. You can put limits on the credit card account and some banks can send notifications when large transactions go through.
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sunshinelife Jan 18, 2021
if poor judgment with finances is a sign of dementia..then im diagnosed :))
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Seems like it is time for somebody to tend to his finances. Ask him to go to lawyer with family member to get powers of attorney for medical and financial. When you get that dementia diagnosis - and you most likely will - talk to his bank about a reloadable credit card that looks like his bank card. Take away his debit card and/or credit card (say that his new cards came in and have him give your the "old cards"). Load the new cards with only a small amount of money so he can buy sundries and use it for any potential scams. Then, that card and the money on it will be the only amounts that he can have stolen from him.
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Dont take away his phone or computer, just cancel his Credit Card and he won't be able to use it
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disgustedtoo Jan 14, 2021
If you're not the "owner" of the cards/accounts, you can't do that.
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OP you may have addressed this in your earlier post about FIL and scammers. Have you talked to your local police department community outreach services?

Locally our RCMP Community Services does programming for kids, teens and seniors. In person workshops are not happening right now, but they may have a Zoom session or printed materials. They may also have resources for families.

I understand the challenges dealing with Narcissistic parents. They always know best, are the smartest person in the room etc.
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sunshinelife Jan 18, 2021
the 'always knows best' is each of us . Not only our parents. think about it:)
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"My DH is his POA but it is not currently active because he is still considered competent to make his own choices."
Read the document carefully. IF it specifies needing medical confirmation, work on getting that confirmation ASAP. My mother's POA didn't really have anything like that and I was able to use it to close 1 bank account after getting SS redirected to the primary CU acct. The CU acct did have my YB and I on it, but I used the POA there to change address to my PO Box and then called all billers to change the mailing address (not the service address) to my box (none of those required the POA.) The CC company did require the POA and was less than helpful. I could get info by phone only (so I'd have to check often to catch anything!), wasn't allowed to create an online account. I could cancel her card (when she misplaces it), but calls for replacement had to be from her phone, with her okay to talk to them! Difficult due to her hearing loss. The only good thing they finally did was reduce her credit limit when I asked - it was a ridiculous amount, ripe for abuse, but thankfully she never used it for much other than groceries. I was also able to freeze it via phone call.

As for getting him diagnosed - is the PCP not aware? Can someone give the PCP heads up and have him checked? Although it wasn't part of the plan, when I wanted to hire aides, to get her used to them, they sent a nurse first to do an eval. This was done IN her condo, with 2 of us present, so it wasn't "threatening" to her. Medicare DOES pay for this. She confirmed what I already knew - mom was in the early stages, and she made recommendations such as timed/locked med dispenser. The aides didn't work out (plan was only 1hr/day to check on her and the meds, to increase when needed) as she refused to let them in less than 2 months later. She, like your FIL, was perfectly fine (not.)

The suggestions for making the phone and computer safer are good ones. I never had to do any of this for my kids or my mother, but there are tools, many geared to protect kids, that would help. I believe there are also phone systems or programs that can limit who can call, etc. Perhaps while researching these you could forward his calls to someone else's phone? Set the number of rings before voicemail to the lowest limit? I know my mom's last service had online voicemail, so if I turned off the phone voicemail, all went there and I could actually check these online - text and phone numbers included!

If the POA document doesn't specify what is needed to take over, I would have DH take it to the bank and discuss with them. They may accept it, allowing him to change the mailing address and potentially getting online access. IF his income is only SS, DH can also sign up to be rep payee (the ONLY legal way to take over someone else's SS.) Call a local office, not the 800 number - faster response. FIL WILL get notice that this application has happened, so he can contest it. If possible, snag that from the mail (NOTE: federal mail cannot be forwarded.)

IF POA allows, freeze his credit - most likely this will need to be done by mail and has to be done with all 3 bureaus. I never did this for my mother, but did have to freeze mine thanks to an idiot in a legal office. Cost me $40 ($10 each to freeze, $10 once to temp unfreeze.) It's now FREE to do this.
NOTE: This would prevent opening new credit, renting, many job applications, but will NOT protect current credit - you'll have to work with the CC companies and the POA to freeze, close, place restrictions, have minimal access.

(quick search shows:
"We have good news: The federal government has now made it possible for you to freeze and unfreeze your credit for free. Even better news if you're a guardian, fiduciary, conservator or have a power of attorney for someone, you can now freeze that person's credit as well. Oct 3, 2018"
You'd need to lookup on each bureau how to request the freeze.)
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The scammers are going after his bank acct and credit card. Consult with the bank officer for advice. They do not want you coming in and getting them to deny charges from a scammer over and over. These scammers work together and he may get another person to get money or computer repair. Some way He needs to have you block "team viewer". That enables the scammer to get into his bank account. I would remove team viewer if you have it. If a scammer is continuing to be successful....the group will take turns "getting".
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For his own good , get rid of the credit card or swap it out for a pre paid card. My man was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment a few years ago. I ended up getting a Durable POA. It was after I came home one day and found $ 47,000 receipt from a dentists office.. He needed work and was talked into complete implants, upper and lowers. . He put it on his debit card and they had the transfer before he left the office. It was a fiasco. The bank could not help because I was not on his account. I marched down to the office and demanded the amount be put back in his account . They refunded all but $ 7,000. because of the exam they gave him and the X-rays. Needless to say, we made a trip to the bank and he was cajoled into putting me on the accounts. First thing I did was put limits on his cards. It wasn’t long after that I had to remove his cards from his wallet because he kept loosing them . I slip them back in his wallet when we go out and remove them when we get home. Since then he has stopped using his laptop, has a hard time with the phone and TV remote . He no longer drives. The lack of social communication has not helped.
You can talk to him or at him in till the cows come home. He may not really understand. Changes are happening in his brain . Caretakers meeting have helped me a lot . It might help you and the rest of the family , too. A diagnosis will help , There are medicines to slow down some cognitive changes. Good luck ..
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sunshinelife Jan 18, 2021
$7000 for an implant workup..no way..low life people . Consider small claims to sue for the $7000..Its easy..just a couple of forms..get a quote letter for the same work up from another dentist..I have gone through this..the dentist didn't show up to court...took 3 mins..they found in my favor by default.
Google the 'statute of limitations' for your state to claim. You can do a Lot with $7k. Good luck
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We set up a ‘fun money’ checking account which usually has less than $1K in it at any time, we control the amount that is transferred each month. We also had our mom apply for a second credit card with her same bank as the first card, this one has a $2K limit. I am her POA and that made it easier. I have her checks for her ‘house’ account and her ‘big’ credit card. I met with the banker prior to setting up the group meeting to take care of this business, he understood our issues and was very helpful in guiding the conversation when we all got together the next day.
We live in Florida and I was able to get all of her store credit cards under the guise of protecting them in case of a hurricane. We put them in a safe and let her create the combination. (She forgot about them and the combination.)
She knows I take care of her household bills and it doesn’t affect her fun money nor does she have to deal with the bills. It has been a smooth transition as her dementia worsens. The most she stands to loose is $3K. Good luck, it is a very touchy situation.
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MichelleWTX99 Jan 15, 2021
That is so cool! Will definitely remember that in case I need it later.

My mom doesn't do internet nor does she answer her phone anymore. She only uses it to talk to me and her grandkids. Biggest issue is her wanting to spend large amounts on grandkids for birthday and Christmas. Oh and not wanting to spend on things she needs to make life easier.
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DO WHATEVER YOU CAN LEGALLY DO. My Aunt had 1.5 million stolen by her roommate that fell victim to the scammers and sent all my Aunt's estate away. Nobody stopped her and I came for visit and had to have roommate arrested trying to figure out where my Aunt's money was and this is heartbreaking. In the end, the police covered up for themselves and so did APS. All made mistakes and never helped me. Gave the Roommate a plea agreement and she never went to prison. She was like family and supposed to be my Aunt's best friend but Aunt had dementia and friend took advantage first by taking her money over a couple of years and having her sign forms to gain her real estate at death and then getting dementia herself and giving away all the money she had worked so hard to steal. SCARY WORLD but SCAMMERS are after our ELDERS because they may have large estates which was the case with my Aunt. PROTECT, PROTECT, PROTECT. You can try APS too. Good Luck
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Imho, perhaps you could cancel his credit card.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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first take his credit card away (find it and destroy it). that way he can't do anything by phone or computer.  if he asks where it is, tell him that it must have gotten lost (and do HIDE yours) so that he won't rummage around looking for it.  And take away his check book IF he is still competent enough to write out checks.  My dad would get books on "vitamins" and would order the pills........buy 6 get 6........when he no longer would write checks and I was checking the house for something I found close to 45+ pills stashed all over the place.  he forgot he gotten them and some where already outdated..........so from that point on I told my mother to throw those books away when they came into the house and I took charge of the checkbook (I am POA)........they don't realize what they are doing (when having dementia) and think that everyone is okay.  But I don't know if I would wait until he gets scammed......that could lead into more debt that you want to deal with.  wishing you luck.
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bundleofjoy Jan 15, 2021
hugs!! :)
i agree, as much as possible, prevent before the damage can happen.

:(
there are mannny people willing to take advantage/abuse financially; no scruples.

hug!!
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My Grandfather takes calls from all sorts of scammers daily. I have done my best repeatedly to explain the danger...as you mentioned also
He hasn't been scammed in 3 years.
Those frugal elderly that squeeze 'a dollar till it holla's' are nobodys fool (despite your fears to the contrary)
In my experience getting money back from a credit card company as an individual has been relatively easy. I called, explained that I had paid for something, and never received anything. They sent me a letter within 15days & gave the money back. I have found Discover bank is very helpful in this regard.
Bank of America..not so helpfu
Additionally, credit card companies have solid fraud/scam systems in place.
And will protect customers against scammers & refund monies.
However, if you look at a wider view....men need to feel productive ...what is your FIL going to do with his time otherwise?
If you take something away (obviously important to him) and put nothing better in its place, he will fall into a black hole. Black holes of depression are hard to pull out of.
If there is a hobby he used to enjoy, or one he's mentioned a passion/interest in exploring . You might ask him if he would like to get involved in that.
Additionally he could join groups on FBook and Youtube that have the same interest.
Having a dr label the man demented, then fill him up with highly toxic medications with cause a rapid decline.
Find him something he has an interest in & he will be happy as a 3 year old in a sand pit
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