Relative in Distress

We often get stories from people around the world that serve as warnings that the world is
becoming a very dangerous place. We wonder, “How can people be so selfish and cruel?”
Unfortunately, there is little that authorities can do about it, as can be seen in the FBI
cybercrimes database. However, even when authorities do catch the bad guys, it takes years to
prosecute and then they often get away with a “slap on the wrist.” According to the experts, the
best course of action is to educate yourself and always use caution. Here’s an example from one
of our readers of an incident that hit home for many of us.

I just thought it was important I tell someone what happened to me and my family recently. My
mom lives in another state and I always worry about her since she’s older and lives alone. I got
a call from a guy that said she had been in an accident and was in a coma. Even though she
was with medical professionals, they wouldn’t work on her unless they had money to cover the
deductibles that they knew Medicaid wouldn’t cover. I got the number of the hospital where she
was, as I needed to speak to those caring for her, and told the guy that we would find the money
somewhere. Unfortunately, I did not call her house as she was in the hospital on death’s door,
right? Instead I called what I thought was a hospital and was told the doctor was in surgery,
but the nurse caring for my mom was available. She informed me that, in fact, my mother was
in a coma so I couldn’t talk to her and that she was not expected to survive without immediate
surgery. What was I to do? After all, she’s my mother and after all she did for me during my
life, why wouldn’t I want to take care of her now? Making a long story short, I found out how
much they needed, sold the few stocks and bonds I had, wired the money from my bank to the
account they gave me, and caught the next plane out of town on an emergency status. When I
got to town I immediately went to the address I had been given to find a vacant lot. Despondent
and in a panic I then went to my mother’s house only to have her answer the door. I was beside
myself with joy, grief, and guilt all at the same time. It turns out, although my mother was in
fine health, I had been the victim of a scam. Of course we called the authorities who said they
would follow the money trail, but they cautioned that it was nearly impossible to get the money
back and not to expect it….ever. This was all the savings toward retirement I had in the world
and now it’s gone. Although I’m grateful my mother is alright, I feel so stupid at not having
checked out the call and caller more carefully, but who could have imagined that there would be
someone so cruel and selfish in this world? Plus, the scam was so complicated with many people
involved. You’d think I would have caught on or heard something in the background during the
call that would have sent up a red flag. I admit it. I was duped and now have to pay the price
for the rest of my life. I just wanted to warn other readers so they could use more caution than
I did. Scam artists count on people becoming emotionally upset or involved in order to get their
ploys to work. Don’t just become another statistic.

According to the FBI cybercrimes unit, scams involving the elderly are on the rise due to their
trusting natures, lack of expertise when it comes to technology, and concern for others. The best
course of action is to never wire money anywhere to anyone and always double-check before
you become concerned about the safety and welfare of a loved one.