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Just imagine what you would think if someone called and said that your child/grandchild was hurt and you needed to send money right away! What would you do? I would be reaching for my purse. BUT, this is how some people are scamming others.
Or, they may say that you owe the IRS money and there is an arrest warrant out for you, your utilities are going to be shut off, your house auctioned for back taxes, etc.
These people will call with things that threaten the things most important to you – your family, your home, your freedom.
It is sad to say that we have to become jaded and not believe all the things we see, read or hear.
My mother would believe most anything. It was not that she was not smart, she just believed in people. She donated a LOT of money to veteran’s charities without checking to see if they were legitimate. Why would she, no one would lie about something like that, she use to say.
So, how do we protect our friends or families that are not as jaded as we are? Good question. I started by going through mom’s mail before I gave it to her. That is illegal, you say? Yes, tampering with the federal mail is illegal. It just happened that some of it fell in the trash before it got to mom’s table. She was getting at least 10 “give me money” letters on average every day. I also sent letters to many of them telling them to stop but it didn’t help.
Mom has been gone almost 3 years and I still get mail saying that she agreed on the phone to give them $10.00 or something like that. CREEPS!
Mom was a very caring person. She was raised in a time when everyone helped each other without questioning them. Unfortunately, those days are gone.
We would go through the remaining mail and sort out what she needed to do something with and what she wanted to throw away. She still gave to some groups that were legitimate but not as many as before.
What about those frightening phone calls? Those would be harder to handle. We finally got Mom a call identifier and answering machine. I told her if she didn’t know the number, to let it go to the answering machine. Generally I have found that scams, “sales” calls, etc. hang up after 4 rings. So, we told mom to not answer the phone till after 4 rings. Not really a problem because it usually took her longer than that to do it anyway. Unfortunately, her answering machine could only be set to answer after 4 rings too so sometimes, we would have to call, let it go to voice mail and then call right back. She would then be at the phone and could see our numbers. On a side note, we do not answer our home phone till after 4 rings so have told family and friends to just let it ring.
Although it is good to sit people down and explain to them that there are bad people in the world, it is harder sometimes with someone who might be forgetful. I would talk with mom about the latest scams in the news but knew the best way to get around them was to not let them get in contact with mom.
Bottom line, keep on eye on those you love. Talk about how some people are taking advantage. IF you can, help with their banking. Keep on eye on their accounts. With e banking now, it is easy to supervise from a distance.
You have to give people their dignity to make their own decisions but yet be able to protect them from the people in the world that would hurt them. Very hard to do.
WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN THAT WORKED/DIDN’T WORK?