Anabelle, Age 87, Outwits Attempted Elder Abuse Scam
By Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, BSN, Attorney
Anabelle entered the sweepstakes, and like everyone else, hope she’d win something. Amazingly, she got a letter in the mail a few weeks later, announcing that she was a winner! $450,000 was the prize. The letter enclosed a check for $4800.00 and said she needed to “activate the check” and that it was payable to her “tax agent” for the taxes due on her winnings. But, something just didn’t seem right. The check looked fine. The company letter had an official look. Alice called the number on the letter of “ Carol Myers, Promotion Manager”. (read more)
She asked some questions: how does this work? How do I know you’re legitimate? They were evasive. She pressed on and finally said, how do I know this isn’t a scam? The man on the line said, “Well if you think that, you don’t have to call back”. Tipoff!! Now she knew this was bogus.
The scam works like this: the phony company sends you a check and asks you to deposit it . The phony check looks real. The victim is to deposit it and send the company a money order for the difference between the “tax amount” and the check, which in this case is $940. The bank accepts the check, and because of this, you believe the company that sent it is for real. You cash the real-looking check, only to find out later than it is phony and your account was debited for the amount of the check. You sent the money order before the check bounced. You’re out the money and the company disappears.
We got Anabelle to send us the letter and the check. It looks real. You can see just how easy it is for these criminals to fool people. Anabelle is very lucky. At her age, her memory is quite good. She doesn’t have “cognitive impairment”, memory loss problems or other signs of dementia. For those who do, the ability to spot the possibility of a scam may be destroyed by even early dementia or memory loss. She has a high school education and is not sophisticated. But we think she’s pretty smart.
Here’s the bad news about sweepstakes. Some sweepstakes companies, even legitimate ones, sell the names of those who enter the contest. Criminals buy the lists, as no one seems to care about who has access to all those names and addresses as long as they make a profit selling the names. Ruthless scammers prey on the greed of those who believe they’re going to get huge winnings. They may just get a few hundred dollars from some victims, but others have life savings wiped out.
Be like Anabelle. Be skeptical. Ask questions. If you have a letter about anything like this, do a search (google or other) for “lotto scam”. In Anabelle’s case, we tried it. The company, Forex Financial Services popped up immediately as a scam. Even if your loved one doesn’t use a computer, he or she should be warned to ask for advice about notification of any supposed winnings from someone, such as a knowledgable family member or elder law attorney the elder knows and trusts.
Better yet, forget about entering mail-in sweepstakes contests. Your name, address, and possibly age or birthdate may be on the market to any bidder, once you do.
SEE THE ACTUAL SCAM LETTER (Click Here)
© 2010, AgingParents.com
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 March 2010 20:58 )