Life savings stolen

I posted this on METAR to get the eyeballs, but it probably belongs here as well. It’s particularly relevant to those who aren’t yet taking care of their parents, but whose parents are still getting along on their own.

Please, please, PLEASE be very careful when contacted out of the blue about anything. Be suspicious.

I just got a call from a client. He is in his 80s and has lost his entire life savings to a scammer. They convinced him he was a victim of identity theft and that he shouldn’t tell anyone about it. They posed as someone from his financial institution.

For yourself, remember that any legitimate caller will be encouraging you to get assistance from family and friends and law enforcement. They won’t tell you to move your funds to a different financial institution. Instead, they will help you open a new account at their institution and install some fraud protection on that account. If anything outside of this is happening, the entire conversation is suspect.

Please talk to everyone you know and love about this topic. If you are unsure of your own skills, find someone you trust that you can talk to in such a situation, or help your loved ones find such a person. Remember, these people prey on fear - keeping you afraid of everyone and pretending to be your only friend.

My client, while far from rich, will now have to live on Social Security for the rest of his life. Fortunately, he still owns his home. But rather than leaving a bit to his children, he will now be dependent on his children for anything beyond his very limited means.



Here’s my response on METAR which might also fit here.

We, society, do disaster drills with our first responders and occasionally with community members.
We train community members in CPR and other basic first aid.

We create drills to train automatic habit response skills for various disasters, so that people have a pre thought out plan for responding.

Perhaps drills that train people in how to recognize and avoid scams, and how to respond to potential scams might help.

We get “passive” alerts such as this story, and assume others see it and are able to internalize and use the “warning”.

But, in the emotions of the moment, some “automatic habit” responses might be useful?

Perhaps sit down with your favorite oldster and go through some scenarios?

Do it once or twice per year?

First responder organizations offer the disaster training drills.

Perhaps financial planners, or banks/ financial institutions could offer in-person financial scam alert drills/workshops?

You, the caretaker, might also go through some hands-on planning with your oldster?