Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scammers Targeting Seniors

I just got a disturbing call from my 86 year young Mom.  She has a wonderful habit of calling me when something seems a bit off to her.  I don’t know how this started but I am very thankful she calls.  We talk about the problem, put it in some sort of perspective, then decide what to do and do it.

Today’s concern was about my cousin.  The story goes he went to Mexico and got in some trouble with the local authorities and now he needs Mom to send him money to get out if the trouble he supposedly got himself in. 

Most of us using the internet are vigilant when these sort of, situations come up in an email, we know there is some sort of hoax behind the message.  The problem was this was by phone.  The caller got her on the phone and started telling his tale of woe, not long into the story Mom asked, “Who is this?”  The caller responded by stating, “this is your nephew don’t you recognize my voice?” Mom said, “Len?” and of course the caller now had a point to work from and the conversation proceeded from there.  Of course he needed money right away.

When Mom called me she was upset and curious about what had happened.  I told her I would make a call to my cousin and it did turn out to be a hoax.

My brother has a job protecting sensitive data, he is amazed by the creativity of the people that try to hack the security.  He was not the least bit surprised Mom got this type of call.  He said there are networks of callers that target the hearts and wallets of our older community.  Nothing happened today with Mom but who knows who the next person to receive a call was and were they vulnerable.

We had a conversation about the intentions of callers and she realizes she is in the age group that might be targeted for fraud.  In the future there will be more skepticism on her part if she doesn’t know the caller, no information will be volunteered, and she knows she has the option of putting the phone down and not continuing the call.  It is so sad to be in the twilight of her life and be the target of nefarious criminals. 

I am so happy she calls me or my brother before making decisions she is not comfortable with. 

God Bless,
Director of Member Services and Smiles
OurHealth Co-op, Inc


  1. I had this exact experience , and believed it was real. I insisted I'd bring this to the "sheriff's office this would not work for him. He offered to send a friend to pick up the money, I refused, and he hung up.

    We older folks need some guidance - it is hard to believe the world has changed so much.

    When I was a kid in Ohio we did not even have electricity and no one even had a radio. No wonder we are so naive..

    Claire in California

  2. This scam has been going on for a very long time. I am elated that your Mom called you which stopped another thief from taking advantage of a loving, caring person.