Mum vulnerable to con merchants

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Rosie56, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Rosie56

    Rosie56 Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    75
    Today my mum's carer phoned to say she found Mum on the phone, just about to give all her bank details to somebody at the other end. :eek: There's nothing she needed to pay (all her bills are done by DD) so it's obviously a scam.

    I'm terrified the person will ring back, try again and succeed in cleaning out her bank account. Both the carer and myself have tried to drum into Mum that you must never do this, that these people on the phone may seem very nice but they are thieves. 'Oh, of course I won't,' she says, but I know from experience that warnings don't stick in her mind very long.

    She was re-assessed last Thursday and scored 26 out of 30, the same as last time they assessed her. She's deteriorating in so many ways and is vulnerable, but she can draw two overlocking pentangles and name the county she lives in, so that's all right, then! There's a really good dementia unit near me but I can't move her there as she is deemed to have capacity. The test doesn't address any of the real problems! She can't eat, wash, walk any distance or look after her money without help, and she thinks dogs are cats and that dead people are still alive, but still she passes. Am banging my head on the wall with frustration. :mad:
     
  2. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    1,126
    eastern USA
    Hello. My mother was subject to these calls when she lived alone. One year, we lost about $6,000 from her account. I have no idea where it went, and when I tried to trace it (using the phone numbers on the credit card bill), all phone numbers were dead.

    We just bought something called Call Blocker (bought on Amazon). It comes pre-programmed with something like over a thousand of the most common spammer and soliticing numbers. Our volume of fake calls has gone down to maybe one every two weeks, whereas we were getting four or five calls a day. (My mother is listed as having this phone number now, and so I believe our calls increased once her name got associated with our own phone number.) This product has brought some quiet and some sanity back into our home, not to mention privacy.

    You might try finding a call blocker and attaching it to your mother's line. You can show the carers how it works, and you can use it as needed. You probably need to have a caller ID on the telephone line, so only the numbers you don't know will get blocked.

    the other thing you might try is removing all financial information from your mother's home. So scary for you and your mother. Good luck with finding a solution.

    I don't know if it's okay for me to post the product information, but I'll try. What we bought is called CPR call blocker V202. It has really saved our running to the phone all the time only to find someone trying to get our information.
    http://www.amazon.com/CPR-Call-Bloc...d_sim_e_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1TX4F2QE25W39JFH9JA8
     
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,711
    Female
    London
    Have you got LPA for her? If not, organise it ASAP so you can take over her financial affairs. In the meantime, you can scratch out the three digits on the back of her card so scammers can't take all the details they need. Also, look into a system that blocks phone calls. My bog standard phone lets me programme numbers in and sort them into groups, then put the phone on silent and only allow a certain group's calls (family etc) to be heard - that instantly silences all sales callers. You need caller display for that.

    To be honest, it was exactly a situation like that which finally triggered the required help from social services. They don't measure memory scores but vulnerability and whether a person is "at risk". Call them and mention those buzzwords, explain the situation and request an urgent assessment or re-assessment.
     
  4. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    269
    Hi Rosie56, have you power of attorney or are you planning to get it?

    I would start looking at ways to safeguard her in the meantime. There are a few different solutions which will filter the unwanted calls from getting to her. This is one I was looking at (luckily, my mum is still very good at dealing with the scammers, but there may come a time...)

    http://www.truecall.co.uk

    The mini memory test is quite old and IMO it's also not a particularly good way on its own of assessing the capabilities of a AD sufferer, but it's a standard and we're not going to get it changed anytime soon. Although I have seen my aunt decline over the last few months, she got the same score on a recent MMSE test as she did back in November. It should be regarded as just one small part of an overall assessment, so it's important to keep communicating with SS and the memory clinic and making them aware of other things you see from day to day. Keeping a diary would probably help.

    Good luck, keep posting here and try not to get too frustrated!
     
  5. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    We looked at the True Call device which was recommended by a number of TPers, not so much because mum would give out her details (she was so cross about these calls and even more about people coming to the door that even when dementia was quite bad she never did it) but because her mobility was so poor that it was a nuisance struggling out of her chair to answer the phone unnecessarily.

    The other quick solution I've seen suggested here is to scratch off the 3-digit code from the back of a debit or credit card as without this you can't complete a transaction.

    Mum's local police/trading standards/council had stickers for the front door telling door-to-door types not to ring the doorbell and this worked very well for her.
     
  6. Cloverland

    Cloverland Registered User

    Jun 9, 2014
    244
    I think Beate's idea is a good one and simple to do, your mum can still receive calls from family and friends.

    I'm with that dreadful company Talk Talk but we have number withheld facility which is brilliant and works so well.

    We never get cold calling from anyone now simply because they don't want anyone to know their number. A message is played to the caller asking them to make their number available otherwise they won't be connected.
     
  7. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    269
    Yes, that's a good idea too and I've done this at my mum's house. I also put up some "CCTV in operation" stickers, even though there isn't any CCTV installed (yet).

    Anything like that is a deterrent and will usually put off the casual scammers.

    There is also the Telephone and Mail Preference Services, although I fear they are not as effective as they used to be. Still worth spending 5 minutes registering with them though.
     
  8. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    19,021
    Male
    North Manchester
    Does she still use the card for anything?

    If not report it lost/stolen, don't let her get her hands on the new card, leave her the old one and let her give the details to 'the nice people on the phone'. If they try to use it they will rapidly have problems.
     
  9. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    269
    Good idea, but don't forget that to report it lost you would either need to have registered a LPA with the card company or get mum to clear security over the phone, which might then alert her to you disabling her card.
     
  10. RobinH

    RobinH Registered User

    Apr 9, 2012
    266
    London
    "The other quick solution I've seen suggested here is to scratch off the 3-digit code from the back of a debit or credit card as without this you can't complete a transaction."

    This is not sufficient to prevent fraud. You need to stop her giving details out. I would recommend Truecall.

    Robin
     
  11. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Absolutely, I was only suggesting this as something that could be done immediately as a temporary fix while something more long-term is sorted.
     
  12. stu100

    stu100 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2015
    70
    Birmingham
    Try to take the card off her it's not easy but I have my nans cards and get money out when she needs it.
     
  13. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,850
    England
    #13 Katrine, Feb 9, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
    TrueCall Care

    TrueCall Care is the product I would recommend most highly.

    You can manage it online for her, setting up a Trusted Caller list (these callers get straight through). You can configure it in various ways. I have my mother's number set up to block all international calls - the few genuine family members who ring from abroad have a 4-digit code that lets them through.

    All other UK calls, either withheld numbers or not on the trusted list, get a message inviting the caller to press 2 to be connected if the call is expected, otherwise don't call again. This filters out automated sales calls because their systems only connect when the phone is answered. They get the screening voice message from TrueCall and are not yet connected to the house phone.

    There is also a Zap list option, so you can prevent specific unwanted numbers from ever connecting. These get a number unobtainable tone.

    I monitor calls to my mum's phone online about once a week and can adjust each incoming call number on the call log to Trusted or Zap if I feel this is appropriate. You will need caller ID enabled on the line.

    I bought our unit from http://shop.alzheimers.org.uk/product/truecall-care/
     
  14. stu100

    stu100 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2015
    70
    Birmingham
    That sounds good hope it works for it makes me feel sick that people would take money of vulnerable people.
     
  15. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,850
    England
    Unfortunately there are those who specialise in preying on vulnerable people. It is wicked, but it's a dark side of human nature that has always been there. We must be vigilant in defending our lambs against the wolves.
     
  16. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,295
    SW London
    #16 Witzend, Feb 10, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
    I posted recently about an elderly neighbour who has been prey to a lot of scams - and she doesn't even have dementia. A great deal of money has gone to these loathsome sharks.

    However as a result of trying to help, I found a website called Think Jessica (sorry, have never found out how to do links on the iPad) which is all about such scams and how to prevent the vulnerable from being taken advantage of. It is particularly hard if the person has not been officially deemed to lack capacity (like my neighbour) since the law takes the view that people are free to waste their money or dish it out ad lib to con men if they wish. And unless the person themselves will make a complaint, there is apparently nothing the law can do.

    That website is well worth a look (but be warned, it is a depressing eye opener) for anyone who is worried about this sort of thing.

    My neighbour was contacted initially by phone, by someone purporting to be from NatWest - she believed them - and was subsequently persuaded to hand over many, many thousands in stages, for 'tax' on her 'lottery win'. I knew she had previously been addicted to those word search 'competitions' where you phone in the answer at God knows how much per minute for the chance of a prize. According to that AJ website, people who go in for this sort of thing by phone are then put on 'suckers' lists' and their details are sold on to other sharks who then phone them. So any phone that bans unknown callers would certainly help in this sort of scam. Though there are others that operate by post and get people to order more and more stuff they don't need, because they may win a large 'cash prize' if they only keep on ordering enough.
     
  17. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,295
    SW London
  18. Rosie56

    Rosie56 Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    75
    Thanks to you all - have been very busy so have only just come back to the forum. I've spoken to the bank and warned them of the situation. They confirm that nothing has gone from her account and they say they will contact me if there is any suspicious activity. Have also got Virgin Media to block all callers that withhold their numbers.

    I'll check those links. Mum has day care and I don't actually live with her, so if a phone system needs constant monitoring from someone in the house, it wouldn't work (the carers do their best - mostly - but they are constantly changing so not much continuity).

    Feeling very low today as my own work is suffering badly from constant interruptions and crises (am self-employed, no partner, no other source of income) and when I rang social services to ask if they would fund a stay in a care home near me (so that Mum can get used to it, see if she would like it) I couldn't even speak to a social worker. The local SS system is at least 6 months in backlog. Oh, and when I said how much the care home would charge for a week of respite, and asked if we were eligible for funding, the receptionist actually snorted with laughter. I don't know if the care home is charging a lot by their standards, because I don't know what other homes charge - I picked one near me which is well thought of and where I've been inside and seen that the residents are relaxed. I know it takes people who are SS funded. Anyway, the message came over loud and clear: I was ridiculous and I wasn't going to get anywhere. So compassionate.
     
  19. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    269
    It's so frustrating when you get a response like that from people who are supposed to be helping. There are professional, responsive people working in the NHS but there are also those who don't deserve to have their jobs.

    I've come across both types in my dealings with them and you just have to ignore and bypass the useless ones and try not to let them get to you.

    The Truecall call blocker doesn't need someone to monitor it constantly. Once set up, you can pretty much leave it to get on with stopping the scammers, but if you do want to view logs, update trusted callers lists etc. you can do that over the internet, but that's not strictly necessary.
     

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