5274 Scotts Valley Dr #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 www.VisitingAngels.com/CentralCoast 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876
A Friendly Voice With Dark Intentions
Protecting Our Seniors From Scams
Years ago, one of our clients developed a friendship with a man who claimed to be a minister. When they spoke, this “minister” would comment on how he needed money in order to carry on the good work he did. Our client, believing in the mission of the church, began giving $100, $500, and then thousands of dollars at a time to keep the church and congregation going. Fortunately, our caregivers were present in this situation, and we were able to inform our senior’s family. After a long and thorough investigation, it was determined this man was not a minister, did not have a church, and befriended many elderly people to get them to give him money. Seniors often find themselves the target of criminals like this “minister.” It’s not because seniors are more gullible than the rest of us. We have witnessed several of our seniors become victims of financial fraud even though they were very intelligent, informed, and aware individuals. Scammers don’t con people by tricking their intelligence; they target kind souls who can be emotionally influenced. I remember one time we received a call from a caregiver who said her client wanted to go to the bank and withdraw $3,000 to send to a person who ran an orphanage. This person had been calling our client daily, developed a relationship with her, and told her all about the wonderful children in the orphanage. When this person claimed the orphanage was in danger of closing because they didn’t have money to keep it open, our client wanted to do everything she could to help. Seeing the red flags, we intervened, called the police (who did an investigation), and blocked the person from calling our client. We have several families who have hired Visiting Angels because their loved ones were already financially exploited,
and they wanted a caregiver to be an extra set of eyes. In one case, a woman was befriended by a
handyman who took her to the ATM, discovered her PIN, and began withdrawing thousands of dollars from her accounts. He also would bring in her mail, stealing some of it to obtain sensitive information. Once he had all her personal information, he was able to open credit cards in her name and charge as much as he wanted, until he got caught.
“We all want to feel needed, and seniors who fall victim to these scams are vulnerable because they are lonely.”
We all want to feel needed, and seniors who fall victim to these scams are vulnerable because they are lonely. They may overlook warning signs because they feel valued. Visiting Angels caregivers can deter someone who attempts to prey on seniors. Just knowing a senior is not alone can make all the difference in the world. Not only is there another person present to observe suspicious interactions, but having someone else around may relieve some of the loneliness, making seniors much less vulnerable to a friendly voice on the phone.
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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