Mom is giving money to a scammer, what can I do???

Mom is 84, I think she’s getting dementia though she was seen by a neurologist who says she’s fine. Mom lives alone, has a pension and social security and my name and hers are on her checking account. She’s been getting calls from a scam artist for months and will not hang up on him or change her phone number. Every day he calls and asks for $300 because she’s won a million dollars and he needs the $300 for whatever but she will get it back when she gets the million dollar check.Today I checked her bank balance online - she has taken a big chunk of money out as cash and met this scammer and gave it to him! She said “it’s MY money and I can do what I want with it!” I don’t know what to do. I am so furious I haven’t been able to call her because I don’t know what to say.

I’m asking advice as to what, if anything, I can do. Talking doesn’t help. Should I just sit by and let her throw her money away? I am SO upset. What should I do???

Advice is best sought in IMHO, rather than General Questions. MOved.


How is she getting the money to him?

Call the police, the DA and the FBI. Also Adult Protective Services or whoever covers Elder Abuse in your juristiction. In fact, the law requires you to contact them. Do you know anyone in Law Enforcement? How about a trusted attorney or clergy?

I worked on a case like this, very similar, same age and everything. The thing is that these scamsters call her and talk to her for hours, and become her friend.

I had my Bro, then a IRS agent come out and talk to her. But when we talked to her son, turned out he vistited her once a month for 30min to a hour. They were talking to her a hour or two every day. Of course she likes and trusts them.

But you need to get someone involved . Now. Not only will they never stop, taking her for everything (they took my “little old lady” for nearly $80k!:eek: ), but it’s required by law.

here the link for New York State:

To report adult abuse, call (within New York State only): 1-800-342-3009 (Press Option 6) or
contact the local county Department of Social Services Adult Protective Services.

If you are in the U.S., you might wish to contact your state Attorney General’s office. They likely have a department that investigates crime against vulnerable adults. If they can’t help, they may be able to point you to other resources.

(Pretty much ninja’d by DrDeth)

My guess is wire or MO. It was wire in my case.

I agree with the people who say contact the police. A crime’s been committed so you’ll want them involved at some point anyway. And your mother might listen to them more than she listens to you even if they’re saying the same thing. A lot of parents too readily dismiss any advice from their children, even if the child is an adult. But they’ll listen to an outsider.

Get a financial POA? Do you have one b/c you’re on her account? My mom is going thru this with an older sister–and my mom is in her 60’s. It turned into lawyers and court cases and having her sister committed. And her sister calling 911 from the hospital bedroom where she was being evaluated and her sister SEVERELY biting one of the nurses that were trying to calm her down. Get her in a lucid state if you can. If you don’t feel she’s safe, do what my mom had to do <long story but she went to the local police station and said–"I think I broke the law–my older sister can’t take care of herself, and she wouldn’t listen to me to leave her house. Officer: Is she in danger right now? Mom: No, there’s mold but she’s ok. Officer: It’s Saturday night, this is not a good night. Call us tomorrow if you can’t get her to leave with you, it will be better for you both. " Next day, my aunt wouldn’t leave and police and ambulances came and my aunt went to be evaulated. And as you read above, it wasn’t good.>

She had recommended a POA for her sister years ago and my aunt wouldn’t listen. Find someone you trust and get one. (That’s her advice to me)

And my aunt it turns out, has money, but one dead bastard of a son and one druggie, so it’s my parents doing it.

Check the laws in your state and you might have to get a lawyer and bonded for POA. Good luck!

You can’t just “get a POA”. A power of attorney requires the informed consent of the person granting the power. If the mother is competent, and does not wish to grant a POA, then that is simply not an option. If the mother is competent and does wish to grant a POA, it is the mother…and not the person receiving the power…that should contact an attorney and discuss whether such a power should be granted, and if so, what the scope of said power should be. The mother is the attorney’s client, not the person receiving the power.

Basically the same happened with my Mom a few years back. Finally ended up with her declared incompetent and with a local lawyer as her conservator. Of course by then her savings were gone and she ended up in a nursing home until passing away about six months later. :mad:

While it was occurring there seemed to be no help. FBI, Postal inspectors etc. were not able, or willing to do anything. All attempts at educating Mom were in vain. What can you say to someone who’s answer to everything is “That’s just your opinion!”

I sincerely hope you have a better outcome.

In the OP:

Hypothetically, if she’s meeting the scammer, she could be followed and once identified the scammer could be convinced to go away and never bother her again. This might take a PI with questionable business practices. Just a thought experiment of course.

In my Mom’s case the money was being wired to Jamaica. :smack:

I sympathise with the o.p., I had the same problem with my old mum when she was alive, but took a more direct, though maybe not so legal, approach to the people involved.

If it really is about the attention for her could you/your siblings arrange to get her out of the house for a while? Take a vacation and bring her with you or hire someone to take her to the movies and the store during the day when the scammer normally calls her? She might feel less like she needs to talk to the scam artist if the rest of her life is really busy and she gets lots of attention from her family.


What a sad fucking thread, if I was one of these old people I’d wire all my money to Jamaica right before my death too just to make sure my kids got squat.

Personally I’d rather my ageing parents would have spent all of their money on enjoying the latter years of their life, rather then leaving it to their kids or, having some sick little creep conning them out of it.

Though I suspect the creeps wouldn’t agree, as wouldn’t some of the offspring.

See if you can get the number blocked somehow. If that doesn’t work, I’d get her number changed. Unfortunately, it’s likely this guy has other info about her now (full name, address, maybe even SSN) seeing as she was willing to meet him in person. I’d get a credit check done ASAP. What a nightmare.

Grude, what kind of fantasy land do you live in where this is so shocking? Someone could easily visit their elderly parents every day and still have something like this happen. Parents get old and the fact is that most folks still have to work and take care of their own kids. The service pbbth describes is something many families in salinqmind’s situation only wish they could afford.

Someone hiring someone to spend time with their parent in their steed? Yea that is pretty bizarre, I mean shit anything to avoid the old coot right.

Obviously a loving child.

Maybe I’ve seen too much nasty treatment of the elderly, but this thread is more like “shes spending my inheritance!” than actual concern for a scammed mom(who a neurologist checked out and said was of sound mind and does have a legal right to spend her money how she wishes).

Or maybe I can say that since I won’t have any inheritance and never did :slight_smile:

EDIT:The idea of an elderly person so alone and isolated that a scam artist is their greatest source of social contact is fucking sad. I’d say the money is well spent in that case.

I don’t think most people try to avoid their elderly parents. I moved across the country when I was 25. I put down roots 1500 miles away from my parents, in part because we get along much better when we only see one another once a year or so. I am fully aware that in another 20 years if my brother doesn’t stay close by them we are going to be faced with an awful predicament: do we move my elderly parents into our house even though we don’t always get along or do we take on extra jobs to be able to pay for an in-home aide to take care of them? They are going to need someone to be there, whether it is one of their children or a nurse/assistant, and if we decide that they need to come live with us it means uprooting them from every friend and family member they have locally and hauling them across the country. I don’t picture them going along with that without a fight.

Because my husband’s mother is so much older than my parents we are actually facing a bit of this problem right now. We just put in an offer on a house (fingers crossed!) and one of the big selling points was that there is space enough for my mother in law to come live with us when she can no longer handle living on her own. My sister in law isn’t going to be able to help except for financially because she is in the foreign service and she can’t haul her elderly mother with her to third world countries so the responsibility falls to us to do what we can for my MIL. But what would we do if my husband or I had a job that involved moving around a lot or we couldn’t afford a place with space enough to bring her to stay with us?

A lot of people in that position are left with very difficult decisions and very angry, stubborn parents who refuse to go along with their plans because they have become set in their ways and are offended at the idea that they can’t take care of themselves. Many of those stubborn parents are then left alone to keep from rocking the boat until something horrible happens, be that a broken hip or a scammer stealing their money. I don’t think for even a moment that those children don’t love their parents very much. Sometimes you just end up in a situation where every option sucks really, horribly bad and you have to pick the least horrible option.

Do you by any chance know a scammer in real life GRUDE ?

You seem almost sympathetic to them .