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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 07/26/11
Is there anything that can be done when a 72-year-old man, who is almost totally disabled, has been "taken in" by a scam (or several "linked" scams) that offer him millions of dollars saying he has won a sweepstakes or a lottery (neither of which he ever entered!) and then ask him to send money because they have to import the car or something and he never gets any money? He has sent them over $30,000 since last November, and that doesn't include all the fees for sending the money.
His family and friends have told him repeatedly that this is a scam and he has to stop, but he says, "It will come; you have to have faith" and just continues. He gets very aggressive when anyone tries to tell him to stop and I don't know what to do! Local authorities say unless he is a danger to himself or others, there's nothing they can do; and unless he consents, I can't get him into counseling. I am getting desperate. He has borrowed money from others and has many outstanding bills. He doesn't talk to friends anymore, for the most part because he's borrowed from them and has no way to repay them (he had a small auto repair business when all this started). He just answers calls, which go on all day and well into the night, or goes out to send them more money.
Do you or anyone you know have any suggestions? Thank you for any help you might be able to provide.


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Name: Yvonne
Location: South Dakota
Date: 07/27/2011
Time: 02:04 PM


Contact your state's attorney general (the consumer protection division) about the scam.

Name: Chris Cremean
Location: Toledo, OH
Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 10:10 AM


He may be near the time that a guardianship or conservator needs to be named. He would be a danger to himself (financially) and if continues will lead to ill health or death. Is there anyone that will apply for guardianship?

Name: tj
Location: MD/WV
Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 09:54 AM


Contact your sheriff and/orState police. Exploitation of our elders is wrong and not only that, it is a crime. If the deal sounds to good to be true, it usually is. There are more and more scams to exploit those who are elderly. It must stop, one by one if we report the numbers will go down. Good luck.

Name: Judy Beauchemin
Location: Branchport, NY
Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 09:09 AM


I am also 72 years old and I have received several of those kinds of phone calls. They make me so angry, because I know they are hoaxes and scams and I have a disabled husband to care for. If I just hang up, they will just keep calling back. Now I have caller ID, so I will not answer a call I don't recognize. I was reporting them to the sherrf's office, but there isn't much they can do to stop them. Most of the calls are coming from another country. The police always tell me I did the right thing, but that doesn't stop the scammers from calling back with another approach. If he would just take down a name and phone number and report it to the police, I am sure they would verify whether the call is legitimate or not. Sounds like he doesn't want to do that. What a shame. I am sorry I don't have any good suggestions. He needs to want to work against the scammers. What he is doing is just encouraging them and funding their opperations. If he won't believe what is truly going on, there probably isn't much you can do. God bless him. He is such a trusting man.

Name: Belinda Anderson
Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 08:47 AM


First I will say I am not an attorney or have any sort of law degree but from what I am reading it sounds like this man is of harm to himself. Harm does not always mean in the physical form and if he is borrowing money to give away to something that to others is obviously a scam...that spells danger to me. I am not sure if he has family who would be willing to go as far to try to speak with someone from their local Agency on Aging to see if there would be some legal recourse that can be taken. If this were a family member of mine I would do whatever I could to have this person determined as unfit to handle his own financial affairs. It might be a difficult task but it sounds like it is pass time someone become the agressive one other than the man who is in need of help. The other option I thought of was to have his phone number changed and is obvious that these scam artist know they have someone hooked in and steps must be taken to at all cost protect him. I hope this has given some insight and I pray for a positive outcome...peace and blessings...Bee

Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 08:04 AM


Check if your state has any laws on "Spendthrift" (usually do not need to prove incompetence)as IF the person is using all his money & can no longer pay for his own needs, the court might order a guardianship/conservatorship of the estate.

Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 08:03 AM


Hi KL: This appears to be a situation where petitioning for guardianship would be necessary. You don't state your relationship to this gentlemen but I would strongly encourage that you or a family member petition for guardianship in order to protect this man from himself and those who are clearly taking advantage of him. Not sure what state you're in, but google Guardianship for your state and it will direct you. Peace & Blessings - Caregiver's Guardian

Name: Roxanna
Location: Champaign, IL
Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 07:12 AM


I work at an agency that handles Elder Abuse and this problem is so prevalent people wouldn't beleive it. There is no way you are going to convince him. When he has no home or phone he will still try to send them money. It is unfortunate with all our technology it is very hard to track and stop these predators. They prey on the elderly, and people that can least afford this type scam.

Name: Bette
Location: Delaware County, PA
Date: 07/26/2011
Time: 06:02 AM


Please contact your Protective Services unit through your county's Area Agency on Aging (for those aged 60+)! You can report this anonymously, if you wish. This unit deals with matters of physical, sexual, emotional abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation by strangers, "friends," or family. They may suggest a competancy hearing to determine if this man is capable of handling his own finances. If he is not, they may have the courts appoint a guardian over his finances.



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