Thursday, 27 October 2016

Look, Roger.... I've Won $10 Million Dollars!


I have to say, it’s mind-boggling just how clever and disgracefully sophisticated some of these scams against our cherished elders are nowadays. Especially when paperwork or official-looking documents are received in the post and you REALLY have to scrutinise them under a microscope to discover the hidden anomalies.

But, as the saying goes:  If it's too good to be true - then it probably isn't.

Here are some of the most common tactics used to exploit unsuspecting Seniors: 

1.    Door-knocking Utility Servicemen.
These suited-up devils magically appear and claim they are here to fix phone lines or adjust water or gas meters etc.  I had a client once who got approached by a so-called 'Telstra' employee claiming he had been sent to repair her supposedly damaged phone, and that she wouldn't be able to receive any calls until he had come inside her home and fixed it.

Lo and behold, at the exact same time he was saying this, her ‘broken’ phone rang!  And perfectly timed, it was my client's daughter!  Needless to say, she told him where to go, that she was sending her husband round - and that if he ever went near her mother's house again she would report him to the police.

It's a shame that it takes the presence of other family members (or the threat of a friend with large biceps) as the only way these creeps will leave our Beloveds alone.

Reminds me of another client of mine who had the recording of a loud angrily barking Rottweiler built into her doorbell.  As you can imagine - it worked a treat!

Or another favourite ploy of the faux repairman, is to rattle off a whole bunch of technical jargon in order to bamboozle elderly people into thinking they need something they don’t.  That the telly will circum-combustulate at any moment if the flux capacitor on their digital data T-box isn’t re-jiggered immediately!

Crikey, if we don’t understand what that means, then how the blimmen heck is a desperately lonely and far-too-trusting 94 year old diabetic blind lady with only half a functioning kidney supposed to know?!

Elderly being scammed by fake tradesmen
Dodgy Dave strikes again?

2.    Shifty Tradesmen.
These sordid creatures seems to mysteriously crawl out of the woodwork after heavy rain or bad storms offering to repair or clear the damage that has (or mostly, hasn’t) been caused to an older adults home.

The amusing thing here (read: suspicious), is that they turn up BEFORE YOU'VE EVEN RUNG THEM!

Ah, yes…Scammers are very sharp at tailoring their dodgy deals to suit a particular client’s needs.

Make sure your trusting Senior insists on seeing suitable identification from this random Bob-the-Builder or Percy-the-Plumber every time.  And under NO circumstance should they be paying cash up front before this so-called 'work' is completed.

If in doubt, chuck 'em out!

3.   Telemarketing Phone Calls.
Don't know about you, but I can just about pick these annoying pests before I've even answered my phone!  Or maybe it's because of the hellish time of day they choose to call... ie: always at dinner time.


We are informed that there are huge consequences for NOT buying their shiny new brand of life insurance/credit card/phone service.  And how dare we risk our family's future happiness by missing out on this ultimate 'one-time only' offer.

Interesting though, how you get the same call a fortnight later?

Then there's the calls from other random imposters promising fabulous deals, holidays or merchandise - a favourite angle for Scammers because they know older adults, as a rule, find it very difficult to say no.

The fact that they are phoning from a call centre in down-town Manila is neither here nor there, is it?

"Oh, she was such a nice sounding lady... and we had such a lovely chat"

And anyway, it's rude to just hang-up on people.

As opposed to the rest of us, who find the whole game is just not funny anymore and we feel perfectly justified saying (with our most sternest of voices) that we are “not interested thank you” and hitting the 'end call' button before these robots get a word in.

Ahhh, it drives ya nuts.

4.   Mail-Outs & Letters 
Pensioners receiving personal mail that asks, ever so lovingly, for donations to obscure charities really rattle my cage.  Mainly because my elderly clients tend to pour over these (with all their spare time) and sadly, a lot of them fall for the nonsense they read in these fictional sob stories.

Indeed, many of them think that sending little orphaned Arpoo who’s dying of malnutrition and malaria in the back streets of India, a cheque for $10 is ok because it’s only a small amount of money and even if it is a scam, it doesn’t really matter… does it?

But just think…$10 from a thousand suckers people is $10,000 bucks!

And it only takes one inadvertant response to just one of these arranged scams and before they know it, your Beloved can find themselves bombarded by an ongoing stream of similar requests... all asking for money, with even more gut-wrenchingly sadder-er-er sob stories attached.

So keep an eye out for the elders in your lives, those whose letterboxes are constantly clogged with this type of rubbish – especially if it’s advising of a huge lottery win or post-marked Nigeria or Darkest Peru.

Scams on Elderly People
No, Mr Smith...
They are not giving you $1million just for being nice!

5.     Stocks & Shares, Investment Schemes
And other mind-blowing offers from weird and wonderful sounding banks and financial institutions, are also alive and well in my elderly client's lounge rooms. These official-type documents can look deadly authentic and promise the victim recipient a huge return for only a minimum ‘up-front fee’ to lock in the deal while they supposedly get to just lie back and watch their dividends come rolling in.


Human Beings,being that we are such a greedy lot, find this incentive particularly hard to resist because even though we know there's no such thing as a free lunch, the letter MUST be real because it has fancy writing and a swirly gold logo on it, right?

Of course the situation is made even more perilous if the person responds by dishing out their bank account number or credit card details (in order to receive their unexpected, but extremely generous windfall).

And you just don’t want to even think about that...


Scammers, by their very nature, move steathily and leave little chance of ever being traced (ie: they give out made-up contact details or bogus business cards)


Usually with a trail of destruction and misery in their wake, a lot of these scoundrels will get away with their crimes because distressed and embarrassed Retirees are loathe to take the matter further for fear of looking silly (goodbye dignity) to friends and family.

Being exploited has left them feeling not only betrayed, but terrified because their security has also been compromised and they are now very weary of people in general – which is a shame because elderly people living alone, can verge on being socially isolated at the best of times.

Possibly too, they have been scammed out of money required for more important things like their own much needed healthcare or medical expenses.

Or worse, they can end up having their entire bank accounts wiped out (yes, it does happen) jeopardising their homes and the welfare of the family's inheritance for when after they’ve gone.  

And just wait til the grandkids hear about that!


No comments:

Post a Comment