It might seem trite to bring up "elder fraud" again. Trite as it might seem, it is real and happening NOW! A good friend called me last week, upset after finding out about her parents' experience. It went like this:
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Her mother received a phone call early on the previous Monday. She was told, by the "arresting officer", that her grandson was arrested for drunk driving and had hit a car owned by a visiting Chilean. In order to avoid jail time, she would need to wire $3,000 to a Chilean bank by noon. She was instructed not to call her grandson (because his cell phone was confiscated) and not to call his parents (because he didn't want them to know).
Unfortunately, my friend's parents believed this story and it cost them $3,000.
Additionally surprising is how my friend found out. You see, her son coincidentally called his grandparents later that day. When they realized that they were scammed, they swore their grandson to secrecy. Fortunately, he told his parents.
When my friend ultimately called her parents, they were embarrassed but also angry and defensive. They emphasized that they were not losing their minds and did not want financial control taken from them.
Therein lies the problem. Were it not for their grandson's prudence in telling his parents, this fraud would not have been reported. Embarrassment and fear frequently keep this crime under wraps. What can we do? We must warn our elderly clients. We must warn our clients with elderly parents. And we must warn our own parents.