PSA: Talk to your elderly loved ones about scams and fraud

gguenotgguenot CA
edited January 5 in General
I work for a small community bank and as i type this we are assisting this elderly gentleman who fell victim to a scam. This scam took $3000 from him which is everything he had and now he's in tears not knowing how he's going to pay rent.

As bankers we do everything we can to ask questions about a-typical cash withdrawals to catch these things but a lot of the time we get the "its none of your business what I do with my money" or they've been instructed by the fraudsters to give an inconspicuous story.

A lot of the time the family doesn't know their parents or grandparents are being scammed because the elder is either embarrassed, still believes their receiving the lottery payment or service, and there are even examples where they know they're being scammed but are lonely and like talking to the person on the other end of the phone.

Please check with your elderly loved ones and let them know to bring you or their family into the loop on any payments that are being asked of them over they phone or online that isn't their regular bill payments. Also would help to provide examples of the different scams out there any how they work.
HatorianTravis

Comments

  • I appreciate this PSA, and I understand completely, they've tried to get my parents a few times (both are in their 70's).

    My mom loves to Fuck.  With.  Them.

    There was a scam where they tell you your grandchild is in jail (in her case Las Vegas).  It's their attorney calling, and although the grandchild is in no mortal danger their nose was broken in a fight.  The police won't let them go to the emergency room without $2000 bail and they are in so much pain.  Please don't tell their mother, they can't bear for them to know!

    My nephew was at work, posting a picture on Facebook of himself the first day with his new uniform.  Obviously not in jail.

    So my mom went on an epic rant about how she always knew that would happen, it was all his father's fault... etc. etc. etc.  Nothing that was true of course.  They kept asking for money and she kept implying she was looking for her credit card, but just making up the craziest shit that led to my nephew's incarceration. 

    Its tragic when it works, I'm not underplaying that, but I do enjoy my mom messing with sick bastards who steal the dollars of people barely making it on pennies.

    My friend's son had the same scam tried on my friend's mother (hard to follow) but she just texted her grandson and he replied he wasn't in jail, he was in calculus.
    akritenbrink
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited January 5
    It's not even just the elderly - anyone who isn't really internet literate or worldly is at risk. I work for a welfare agency and there are a lot of scams of people claiming to be us to get bank account numbers and whatnot. People who are disabled or have mental health issues are a particular target.

    In my particular job I have to occasionally call people and we are supposed to ask them ID questions (date of birth, address, youngest child's name, etc) to make sure we have the right person before we discuss whatever we are calling for. I hate asking those questions and I hate more that 99% of the time people will just blindly give me the information, trusting that I am who I say I am. I mean, I AM - but some of those calls claiming to be us are not, you know?

    When I get calls from my bank or telephone company or whoever and they start asking me personal questions I never give any information. I tell them I'll call back on their business number and get them to tell me what department to ask for.
    akritenbrink
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    edited January 6
    Someone called me from an Iowa area code claiming to be the IRS. They leave a vague voicemail with an American-sounding male voice and they don't say why they are calling.    So I called the number back three times and each time an Indian person answered, which would be rare for a Midwestern call center (I grew up there, coincidentally; we had a lot of call centers but not a lot of Indian folks around). They say they are going to send the "local sheriff officer" to arrest me THAT DAY for a discrepancy they just uncovered unless I paid the bill right then and there on the phone.

    Even though it was an obvious scam, I hadn't heard about it yet, and it did make your heart race a little to hear that there was an IRS problem and the cops were coming. I strung him along for a while, until he asked me if I had the $6000 or whatever and I said yes, yes, I will pay you, and he asked me what format it was in (credit card, checking account etc) and I said it was in a briefcase under my desk. He was already annoyed because of some of the questions I had been asking and things I had been saying and he had already been asking me if I was playing with him. So when I said the thing about the briefcase, he said YOU ARE PLAYING WITH ME!! and I said "You should really not do this, it's hurting your soul" and he hung up on me. I didn't even get a chance to tell him I could give it to the local sheriff officer when he or she showed up.

    Fun times!
    Travis
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • davemcbdavemcb Melbourne
    edited January 6
    @Dee as a fellow aussie the one that we keep getting is from "Microsoft" informing you that your computer has sent error messages and they need to remote into your computer to fix them. They make people go to an error folder to prove the files exist, once they remote in they then charge you for the support plus new software. They also threathen to hold your computer hostage until you pay them. As most of the people who get done by this aren't really great with tech they pay them. 

    They also then steal any passwords saved on the machine as well as any bank info etc that has been used so can get people badly.

    When I get them I make them direct me around acting completely tech illiterate to get their hopes up before telling them its a work computer and the guys from IT can look after it.

    Make sure you give https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ a read as it might help friends and family as well as people you look after!
    Dee
  • Someone scammed John Podesta.
    davemcb
    So what? No f*kin ziti now?
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    davemcb said:

    @Dee as a fellow aussie the one that we keep getting is from "Microsoft" informing you that your computer has sent error messages and they need to remote into your computer to fix them. They make people go to an error folder to prove the files exist, once they remote in they then charge you for the support plus new software. They also threathen to hold your computer hostage until you pay them. As most of the people who get done by this aren't really great with tech they pay them. 


    They also then steal any passwords saved on the machine as well as any bank info etc that has been used so can get people badly.

    When I get them I make them direct me around acting completely tech illiterate to get their hopes up before telling them its a work computer and the guys from IT can look after it.

    Make sure you give https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ a read as it might help friends and family as well as people you look after!
    I've never had that Microsoft call, but I know others who have. And I love the Scamwatch site - I am constantly referring people there!

    davemcb
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Core curriculum that should be required in order to graduate high school:
    1. Finance, personal and business
    2. The legal system and police procedures/tactics
    3. Logical fallacies and objective reasoning
    and last but not least:
    4. Scams and how to deduce them

    amhatchTravis
    I just want to be famous enough that a porn parody gets made about me.
  • LukeLuke Central Illinois
    If you want to hear a real horror story my parents got like 10k ripped off from their savings account.

    Wasn't the typical scam either they had nothing to do with it.

    Scammer managed to call their land line phone company and get them to set up call forwarding to a number in Nigeria.

    They then call forward to my parents bank so it looked like the call was coming from the number on the account.

    Bank employee then wired the money to a random Chicago bank account which was already compromised by the scammers. Money was then wired to Nigeria from there.

    It took weeks and the police/FBI getting involved for my parents to get their money back.

    Moral of the story this is why identify theft is so scary because the minimum wage employees in charge of all your accounts give zero fucks. As long as the scammer has your personal info they got ya.
    Travis
  • South Park did a great episode about this with those horrible infomercials.
    No Half Measures....
  • Hatorian said:

    South Park did a great episode about this with those horrible infomercials.

    Haha I remember that one. At the end the sweet gma voice is telling that dude to kill himself, right?
  • Luke said:

    If you want to hear a real horror story my parents got like 10k ripped off from their savings account.

    Wasn't the typical scam either they had nothing to do with it.

    Scammer managed to call their land line phone company and get them to set up call forwarding to a number in Nigeria.

    They then call forward to my parents bank so it looked like the call was coming from the number on the account.

    Bank employee then wired the money to a random Chicago bank account which was already compromised by the scammers. Money was then wired to Nigeria from there.

    It took weeks and the police/FBI getting involved for my parents to get their money back.

    Moral of the story this is why identify theft is so scary because the minimum wage employees in charge of all your accounts give zero fucks. As long as the scammer has your personal info they got ya.

    That's awful and the bank should (and probably was) on the hook for that. Bank tellers are usually paid $3-5/hr more than min wage to weed out the no fucks given employees, but I get your sentiment
  • Vasilnate1Vasilnate1 Salem, MA
    Please, no one tell my parents anything. I'm not done scamming them yet! 
    Travis
    "because everything would be what it isn't"
  • JoshTheBlackJoshTheBlack Atlanta, GA
    Here are the two rules I gave my parents:

    1. Never give information  of any sort to someone who you did not initiate contact with.  Need to get a loan?  Call the bank, give them info.  Need to get a loan?  Somebody happens to call you and offer you a loan, they just need to run your credit check?  Don't give them information.   
    2. Don't open anything on your computer that you did not seek out, even if it appears to be from someone you know.

    So far, so good.
  • WonderedObjectWonderedObject SAN Francisco, CA
    Freddy said:

    Core curriculum that should be required in order to graduate high school:
    1. Finance, personal and business
    2. The legal system and police procedures/tactics
    3. Logical fallacies and objective reasoning
    and last but not least:
    4. Scams and how to deduce them

    This should seriously be required. It's not even funny how oblivious some people are coming out of high school, myself included. Glad I know all there is to know about calculus though. It's been a life saver.

  • WonderedObjectWonderedObject SAN Francisco, CA
    Scams/that lock computers. These are the worst. Glad my mom knew better then to pay them off with gift cards. But sometimes they aren't as obvious.

  • I really like this post. All of us think "that wouldn't happen to me or my parents". But there's a reason these scams are so successful. Everyone should sit down and talk to their families about these things.
    No Half Measures....
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Freddy said:

    Core curriculum that should be required in order to graduate high school:
    1. Finance, personal and business
    2. The legal system and police procedures/tactics
    3. Logical fallacies and objective reasoning
    and last but not least:
    4. Scams and how to deduce them

    When I graduated from high school, most people did not own personal computers. :) I had a heck of a time explaining email to my mom when I went to college. 
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • TaraC73TaraC73 Manchester NH
    I had a talk with my dad when he was here about this. He's not elderly, but very naive and can be gullible. Thanks for the reminder :)
    Don't tell me what I can't do!
  • A: Could your bank set up a fundraising account for this gentleman? I am genuinely concerned for him.

    B: I was just scammed last week. Someone found out the exact balance in my checking account, and spent it at a WalMart 45 minutes away, taking my account down to exactly zero. 
  • gguenotgguenot CA
    edited January 9
    amhatch said:

    A: Could your bank set up a fundraising account for this gentleman? I am genuinely concerned for him.


    B: I was just scammed last week. Someone found out the exact balance in my checking account, and spent it at a WalMart 45 minutes away, taking my account down to exactly zero. 
    We all pitched in at the branch to get him a gift card so he could get some groceries while we were filing a claim to get some of his money back-- the $3000 he withdrew is gone, but he was also defrauded $900 on his debit card and we can get that back for him. Debit card transactions have added consumer protections.

    In terms of fundraising for him, for lack of a better term, it would set a bad precedent. We have customers fall victim to these types of things 3-5 times a month (we're a smaller institution). We wouldn't want the fundraising to be construed as admission of guilt/ admission that we failed to protect the customer and we hold part of the blame.

    Check with your bank about that fraud on your account. Good chance you can get that $ back
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited January 9
    I work for a tax office and we hear about the IRS calls all the time. The really annoying thing is that it seems that nothing can be done about it. We report them, but it just feels like an exercise. It's complete harassment. I had a really nice, elderly client once who called me in a panic because the people pulled the whole "we know where you live and we're coming there now" thing, threatening to come and question and maybe arrest them. It's disgusting. I really hope to hear about people going to jail about this someday in the near future, but I'm not holding my breath.

    I also had a client where a bank employee just took $5,000 out of his account. Just took it. No call, no pretense, just $5k transferred into another account. I noticed it about a month or so later (it was a guy who doesn't really pay attention to his account) when I was doing his bookwork and the bank pretty quickly sorted it all out and got his money back, but that was super messed up. Another guy we work for got Madoffed, but by a different investment guy. A whole lot of money involved there. 

    It's true, you've got to be vigilant. I've seen a lot of these things. Definitely know that the IRS will not call you out of the blue, and they won't e-mail you. Nothing but snail mail unless you're already in talks with them.  I do hear that they might start working with collection agencies, but I can't imagine especially with these fraud scams being so prevalent that they won't go away from always working through snail mail for quite some time first. It's good that most people know that now. I finally got my own "IRS call" not that long ago. Jerks!

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • Wahl-eWahl-e Seattle
    My grandfather got a call a few months ago saying that I had been in a car accident in the Dominican Republic (apparently, I was there for a wedding), I was driving under the influence, and I had seriously injured another person. I was being held at the U.S. embassy, but they would turn me over the D.R. authorities if I wasn't on a plane out of the country in a couple of hours. They even put someone on the phone pretending to be me. They wanted $800 to get me on a plane. 

    Luckily, my grandpa is pretty savvy (he's traveled the world many times over) and a small hitch in the story didn't sit well with him. The person calling said they were a Marine who was a guard at the embassy. My grandpa was like, "Why would a Marine be calling me? Shouldn't it be someone else who works at the Embassy, not a guard?" He called my mom to confirm the story, which led her to leave a panicked voicemail on my phone. When I called her back as I was headed into work (not in the Dominican Republic), she broke down in tears— happy that I was okay. 

    You should let your grandparents/parents know about this scam. It so common, there is a page on the State Department website about it: https://santodomingo.usembassy.gov/send_money_dr.html

    The main moral of the story for your grandparents: Always get a second opinion. Never take a phone call about a crisis that requires payment at face value. There's always a way to confirm the story. Volunteer to help them vet the story if they ever get a call like this, and become their main point of contact if they ever have a question or concern. 

    After all, you're good at computers, right?
    Travis
    "Do you know what nemesis means?"
  • gguenot said:

    amhatch said:

     Check with your bank about that fraud on your account. Good chance you can get that $ back

    Thanks! I already did get the money back- they're the ones who alerted me to the fraud via text. They're also a small credit union, but have good fraud protection. :)
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Travis said:

    I work for a tax office and we hear about the IRS calls all the time. The really annoying thing is that it seems that nothing can be done about it. We report them, but it just feels like an exercise. It's complete harassment. I had a really nice, elderly client once who called me in a panic because the people pulled the whole "we know where you live and we're coming there now" thing, threatening to come and question and maybe arrest them. It's disgusting. I really hope to hear about people going to jail about this someday in the near future, but I'm not holding my breath.

    I don't think they are in this country. I saw the number was from Iowa, but I called it back three or four times in rapid succession just to check it out, and I'm fairly certain everyone who answered had an Indian accent. Then I got a second call another day from some other area code, but I wasn't in the mood for monkey business that day so I never called it back. 
    Travis
    Be a human, not a machine.

    Angie Kritenbrink
    akritenbrink on most social media

  • TravisTravis CA
    edited January 11
    Yeah. That's kind of what I was thinking too. It's just so amazingly frustrating that that level of harassment involving people presenting themselves as agents of the government can go unpunished. I just can't get away from how freaked out my client was that day. It's terrible.

    I really want a Grizzly Bear sidekick, but Daniel Rossen won't return my phone calls.

  • I had a job as a telemarketer (back when home phones were a thing) when I was 19 for about 3 weeks. I sold the shitty credit cards with virtually no line of credit and a high annual fee. I was cool with people yelling at me, but the reason I left was because I felt like I was being a predator to the elderly. At first it didn't register that I was taking advantage of them because I just figured that they would be the only people home at that time, but I noticed that over half of the people that I signed up sounded elderly. After week 2 I couldn't stand the idea of taking advantage of people that think I'm actually providing a service to them. My point is that I think even legitimate businesses aren't above preying on the elderly and it honestly makes me sick. 
    Travis
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