My dad --80 years old-- responded to an ad in a magazine. The ad was something about what you want in life.
Do you want money? friendship? etc. How do you want it to come?
In the lottery? etc. So he must have sent in this specific request, at which point Maria Duval became his "best friend." He constantly received packages with trinkets which he had paid for in $30.00-$50.00 range. They promised to bring him peace, or prosperity, etc.
Then he got letters saying he had won a foreign lottery, and needed to send $$$ amount to get things going. When I was able to see his checkbook, I saw that this had been going on for a long time to the tune of thousands of dollars. I was able to make a copy of his check recorder and showed his doctor that he had been being swindled by these fake lotteries, etc. by showing his checkbook and also a stack of scam letters.
It wasn't easy, but the doctor was supportive and with the help of a lawyer I was able to get my dad to sign power of attorney. The lawyer was able to explain to my dad that there would be many times when he would need representation....etc. Finally he signed, at which point I got the mail re-directed to me, so I could sift out all the scams. I was able to get an article in the local paper concerning elder scams, and found out while doing research that one in 15 scam letters sent out are responded to with money.
In many cases these scams are groups that are foreign terrorist or gangs. But some people told me that as soon as their parent responded to a legitimate charity, that the charity would send another letter. The elderly sometimes forget that they already sent money to them and continue on and on. I think standing up against this is a moral imperative and that needs to be stressed to doctors, lawyers and judges who may feel you are just trying to get hold of your parents' money.
The fact is that all of these scammers are doing just that. They know that the elderly get social security and that they are often sad, lonely, disappointed in life, etc. and have some form of senility. My dad who had a degree is business was also very impressed with the letters on beautiful letterhead stationary.
They looked very legitimate. I might also add that Social Security does NOT honor power of attorney. Good luck there.
The best way is to get your parents' co-operation before everything goes downhill. Good luck.
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