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Mrs Bear

Oh, Lord, Elderly Neighbours And A Scam

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Had neighbour round earlier with a plumbing problem - flood in bathroom. Mr B went round, switched off water, plumber came and fixed it. When time came to pay, their card was declined so Mr B used his. I have been round again later - one of them told me they are a bit short at the moment but she is meeting someone on Friday who is going to giver her her 'prize' of a million quid or so. My heart sank. I asked whether she has been paying them any money - yes, £400 on and off. I gathered that she meant more than one payment of £400.

This is a lovely couple and there is no dementia as far as I can tell, but this person is convinced that this is on the level. She is not thick, not at all - but she has been completely taken in. Somehow I am going to have to convince her that it's a scam, and I'll have to do it tomorrow, before she gives them any more. Mr B is out so I haven't told him yet.

I am dreading having to tell her - she only let it out as I was on the doorstep, about to go home.

PS - she was just on the phone, something about the plumber. I did spell it out, but I don't think she believed me. They have her well and truly hooked. I told her I can absolutely guarantee there will be no million quid on Friday, they are vile, evil people, and PLEASE do NOT give them any more money.

Don't know what else I can do.

Maybe she will listen to Mr B, but she says her own son has told her the same, and if she won't listen to him...

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Get the police involved?

I think it would have to come from her - she has 'capacity' as they call it, and I can't see her admitting it.

I don't think her husband is fully aware of what she's been paying out.

Presumably the reason more of these evil scum don't get caught is because people hate admitting they've been so daft.

I asked who she's supposed to be 'meeting' on Friday, and where. 'They haven't told me yet.' She said there 3 of them, and one is American. I said why would anyone be giving you a million quid anyway? 'Its a lottery prize' and the payments she's been making are for 'tax'.

I despair.

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Its shocking isn't it. There was a programme about scams like these on Radio 4 I heard a few years ago. Nigerian scammers and boiler room scams were part of it. One victim committed suicide after he realised that the share certificates he had received over an extended period were worthless bits of paper and the company didn't exist. The boiler room would keep him informed of how much his shares had increased in value and persuaded him to buy into other non existent companies. He was duped out of a few hundred thousand I recall. I don't understand how anyone would be taken in by such preposterous scams, but they are. He'd even kept it secret from his wife.

Local Trading Standards will have many cases that show when a victim is hooked the scammers would sell their details to other scammers. The victim would then receive large volumes of mail shots. Sad stories indeed.

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Mrs Bear: I am going to assume you're not an older adult psychiatrist! Therefore it is not your job to diagnose dementia.

Get police involved, 101 etc. This adult could easily be classed as an "vulnerable adult" and we all have a job to protect them, in the same/similar way we all have a job to protect children. You don't need to have dementia to be vulnerable.

Plod would love a piece of these people. This is clear cut fraud. If I was a local Bobby I'd love the chance to interview these characters.

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Mrs Bear: I am going to assume you're not an older adult psychiatrist! Therefore it is not your job to diagnose dementia.

Get police involved, 101 etc. This adult could easily be classed as an "vulnerable adult" and we all have a job to protect them, in the same/similar way we all have a job to protect children. You don't need to have dementia to be vulnerable.

Plod would love a piece of these people. This is clear cut fraud. If I was a local Bobby I'd love the chance to interview these characters.

Plus - these scum will almost certainly be preying on others who ARE unable to understand the situation.

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This victim is not at

Its shocking isn't it. There was a programme about scams like these on Radio 4 I heard a few years ago. Nigerian scammers and boiler room scams were part of it. One victim committed suicide after he realised that the share certificates he had received over an extended period were worthless bits of paper and the company didn't exist. The boiler room would keep him informed of how much his shares had increased in value and persuaded him to buy into other non existent companies. He was duped out of a few hundred thousand I recall. I don't understand how anyone would be taken in by such preposterous scams, but they are. He'd even kept it secret from his wife.

Local Trading Standards will have many cases that show when a victim is hooked the scammers would sell their details to other scammers. The victim would then receive large volumes of mail shots. Sad stories indeed.

I think some people are just unbelievably naive, and just too nice to realise that other people could ever deliberately lie to them and pretend to be nice, in order to steal their money. My neighbour is certainly one such. According to her, these very nice people have allocated her a 'prize' , only they need her to pay several instalments of 'tax' before they can hand it over.

It's awful that such people have to find out the hard way. I have also heard plenty of such stories before, on R4 and similar. The wonder is that anyone is still apparently unaware enough to be hooked.

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Mrs Bear: I am going to assume you're not an older adult psychiatrist! Therefore it is not your job to diagnose dementia.

Get police involved, 101 etc. This adult could easily be classed as an "vulnerable adult" and we all have a job to protect them, in the same/similar way we all have a job to protect children. You don't need to have dementia to be vulnerable.

Plod would love a piece of these people. This is clear cut fraud. If I was a local Bobby I'd love the chance to interview these characters.

No, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I've seen enough of dementia, believe me, in all its stages, to be pretty sure that's not the case here.

I have known this couple for over 30 years and I honestly don't feel able to go over their heads.

It is a headache and a half.

PS have just called the Old Bill. Of course they want to send someone round, but I will have to speak to her tomorrow and try to convince her to report it.

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If you want to get it stopped quickest route would be acting like you want in on the scheme then you can take control of the getting police involved side of things. I would probably not even tell the neighbours you have done so.

Problem at the moment is there are two massive mental barriers to getting to the point they'll involve the police themselves. Firstly the acceptance they've been foolish and secondly being prepared to admit as much to the police also.

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No, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I've seen enough of dementia, believe me, in all its stages, to be pretty sure that's not the case here.

I have known this couple for over 30 years and I honestly don't feel able to go over their heads.

It is a headache and a half.

PS have just called the Old Bill. Of course they want to send someone round, but I will have to speak to her tomorrow and try to convince her to report it.

Absolutely correct, it must come from them. I would be very upset if someone, however well meaning, got the police involved in my business against my wishes. Nasty business though, I would try my best to convince her to get plod involved.

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Thanks - have printed off and will try to get her alone today. It is so difficult. Her husband is quite sharp (and not naive) mentally but is partially disabled by a severe stroke many yrs ago - they are always together.

I am now worried that she will have passed over bank details and God knows what, and these bastards will have been emptying their account.

PS she just phoned again about the plumbing. I told her again not to give them another penny, they are criminals and will be defrauding many other people too. They have been contacting her mostly by phone - I said to hang up if they ring again. I said she must tell the police and she could come to my house to do so if she doesn't want to discuss it in front of her husband. Said it as kindly as I could - so many people are taken in, she is far from the only one, etc. but she became agitated and upset and asked me please not to go to the police. I said I would not without her permission. In any case it would be no use my reporting to Plod if she won't pass over any details.

Judging from the fact that their card was declined yesterday, presumably there is no money to give the bastards anyway, not at the moment anyway. They need a new loo, and I have offered to take her to choose one today, but she said they can't afford it at the moment. Thank heaven there is another they can use.

They have a son and daughter but neither lives near - one is a couple of hours' drive away, and we don't have contact details. In any case I would feel awful going behind her back.

Oh, dear...

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Sorry to hear this. Something similar happened to my mother with dodgy builders. They took her in with the gift of the gab mixed, I suspect, though mum won't admit it, with threats. The police said they couldn't do anything but they did send a constable and a detective round, in the end the only thing that convinced her she'd been ripped off was because we got a surveyor in who told her they had done nothing except cause damage, and that in his opinion they should be in prison - he also waived his fee as he was so angry about it.

I now have something called Third Party Mandate on my mother's accounts which means she can't take out more than £250 in cash from the bank unless I am present - is there anything similar you could set up with your neighbour or suggest she does with a family member? It wont' stop online or card fraud but it is at least something.

One thing that might help is getting the police to visit your neighbour. I know she said you shouldn't, but you can say that you were interested in the lottery so decided to investigate and then found out it was a scam that the police were warning against and they said they had to speak to everyone involved so you feel duty bound to report it. I think a lot of elderly people get talked into things by 'official' sounding people, because they've been brought up to trust authority implicitly. You need to trump that with a higher authority, which in this case is the police.

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When there's nothing left in her account they'll suggest she borrows from friends or uses Wonga or similar. Police must be involved.

I know a vulnerable woman who lost 60K inheritance money to African fraudsters via a 'romance' scam, initiated by a faked-up Facebook profile. Google 'romance scams'.

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Well, we just had her round 'for a coffee' . She's been making the payments via Western Union, inc. to Jamaica! - maybe £4000 in all. From what she said, I gather her kids are aware and have been on at her about it. It seems that her son has stopped at least some of her mail. We impressed on her again that she will never see a penny, they are unscrupulous criminals, etc. She promised to hang up if they ever ring again, but I don't know...

The woman who contacted her initially told her she worked for NatWest Bank - we had to tell her, well, she would say something of the sort, wouldn't she? So that you would trust her.

Mr B impressed on her that Western Union is the favourite money channel for scam artists and fraudsters.

I gave her that printout to read, and I hope digest!

If any official action (police) is taken I feel it has to come from her own kids - it's evidently not the case that they haven't a clue.

Thanks for advice, everybody. I have been in a right old tizz over this.

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Thanks for advice, everybody. I have been in a right old tizz over this.

I sympathise (and I don't do that often!) It must be a horrible thing to witness and there's no good solution which won't look like making those people look a bit like fools, and no-one wants to have to do that to decent people.

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Well, we just had her round 'for a coffee' . She's been making the payments via Western Union, inc. to Jamaica! - maybe £4000 in all. From what she said, I gather her kids are aware and have been on at her about it. It seems that her son has stopped at least some of her mail. We impressed on her again that she will never see a penny, they are unscrupulous criminals, etc. She promised to hang up if they ever ring again, but I don't know...

The woman who contacted her initially told her she worked for NatWest Bank - we had to tell her, well, she would say something of the sort, wouldn't she? So that you would trust her.

Mr B impressed on her that Western Union is the favourite money channel for scam artists and fraudsters.

I gave her that printout to read, and I hope digest!

If any official action (police) is taken I feel it has to come from her own kids - it's evidently not the case that they haven't a clue.

Thanks for advice, everybody. I have been in a right old tizz over this.

It sounds awful to say, but in scamming terms £4000 isn't too bad. It could have been much worse. However, it is likely to happen again unless she has really learnt her lesson...not sure there's much more you can do though. I think getting angry with them makes them secretive because they don't want relatives to know they've been conned...We've tried to impress to my mother that no legitimate business will call her at the door or on the phone, but she doesn't really believe it. You could perhaps say to your neighbour if she's unsure about any phone caller or emailer that you'll be happy to check them out online.

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It sounds awful to say, but in scamming terms £4000 isn't too bad. It could have been much worse.

If it was the only money she had .. then it's pretty bad.

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If it was the only money she had .. then it's pretty bad.

I don't think they're actually on their uppers, thank heavens.

I know it could be a lot worse. I have heard of so many cases of tens of thousands, though often where early/mid dementia is involved, and family can do nothing because there is no power of attorney in place.

Though one measure in such cases, if anyone might need to know, is to scratch off the security code on the back of the card so that at least they can't shell out over the phone.

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It sounds awful to say, but in scamming terms £4000 isn't too bad.

Could have been much worse. Younguns today pay much much more than this for an education.

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Get telephone number changed.....see that husband opens all post, and if in doubt talk to you about it....see there is only one chq book and one card in one place and manage both closely. ;)

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