March 1, 2017
It seems that the creativity of scam artists knows no bounds. They are criminal chameleons who can change their ability to con good people faster than online protections and written warnings can be posted. They know that seniors are more trusting. Older seniors may be “in awe” of technology because they are unfamiliar with it or suffer from dementia, making them vulnerable to those promising protection. Whatever the case, you need to know the latest hacks and cons so that you can inform your loved ones and take action to protect their vital personal information.
The Case of the Doomsday Caller.
Here is a story that a Home Care Assistance owner relayed to us regarding a very effective telephone scam artist. He was so convincing that he gained remote control over all the financial holdings of a former financial planner and bank director.
“I have spent the last few days helping one of our clients who is 92 years old and the victim of a scammer. He believed that the con artist was an outside ‘expert’ who was correctly predicting the impending doom of his computer. He was so convinced that he gave the scam artist remote access to his computer, and therefore, control over all of his accounts.
Believe it or not, the only reason his family and I knew about this horrifying event was because of my delivery of a chocolate pecan pie. Here is what happened:
This client would never let me enter his house without getting up to give me a kiss on the cheek. One day when I arrived, and he didn’t come to greet me, which I found very unusual. When I heard he was on the phone, I figured he had to be involved in a very meaningful discussion. Later that day, his wife said to their daughter, “Dad was so caught up in his phone conversation that he didn’t even get up to see Ashley!” That comment told his daughters that something very fishy must be going on and opened the door to discovery of the scam. After all, at age 92 what call would be so important as to change his habits?
After many questions from his oldest daughter and much prodding, he finally admitted to her what had happened and that the man on the phone now had remote access to all his accounts. We spent much of Friday afternoon with his personal banker changing his accounts and passwords, moving his investments into new accounts and canceling all of his credit cards. I had a computer troubleshooter check every system on his computer and a woman with LifeLock placed all their accounts on alert. She also secured their social security numbers because there is a chance they were compromised as well.
There were moments in the midst of the process when he looked over and asked me why we needed to do this. When I reminded him, he said “Oh well if someone saw my accounts we need to close them right away.” It infuriated me that someone would take advantage of this man in this way. After all, he is a former Marine, a former Director of a national bank and was an extremely successful financial planner. In his mind, he knew better than to give anyone access to his accounts, but these people were so convincing that it made sense to him to allow them to help.
Based on comments from the family, we know there is absolutely no way that he and his wife would be able to handle any of this on their own and would not know the first thing to do. In fact, this man did go into his bank on Friday morning and left telling his daughters that everything was fine. It was only after I went into the bank and explained the ENTIRE story that they grasped the gravity of the situation.
I hope that after a few weeks of monitoring the situation we can all rest easy that it has been successfully addressed and the damage contained. This is an important reminder that these things can happen to smart, experienced, professional people. I’ve told my client that if ANYONE calls offering help or expressing concern about the security of his technology that he ask for their number and I will call them back!”
This could have ended in tragedy with the con artist wiping out the life’s savings of a trusting, aging couple. Home Care Assistance can protect your loved ones from this potentially devastating event by being on site and in the home each day. Talk to us about how we can help to keep your aging loved ones safe.
7 Brendan Way, Suite B Greenville, SC 29615