1. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    #1 Katrine, Feb 27, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
    As well as keeping MIL physically safe, there is also the issue of money, which many of you know all about from your own experiences. Some £3K in cash just disappeared over a space of 18 months, some of it frittered in charity shops, but the majority of the overspend continues to be a mystery as we have searched the house and it is not there. Possibly a family member was involved, but at least we have put a stop to the drain by keeping her current account on short rations and changing her deposit account to online only, so she cannot make large purchases or withdrawals without consulting her son who has POA.

    Equity release mortgage - some years ago a man came to sell one of these to MIL. At that time her dementia was mild but we insisted that family be present to talk to him. After hearing what he had to offer it was agreed that it would not be in her interests to get the mortgage just to release a few thousands pounds for repairs, which she could do by borrowing from one of us and repaying gradually from her pension income, which exceeds her outgoings. MIL agreed that if she changed her mind she would have one of her children present to meet with the salesman. So what did she do? Checked when we were available and then rang him for an appointment on a day when she was sure that none of us would be there. She was delighted to get one over on us "I'm not stupid, I'm not a child, I know what I'm doing".

    Salesman pursuaded her to take an even bigger mortgage so that she had extra cash to "help the family out". End result is that she now owes £25K for borrowing £14K, much of which is still unspent. There is, fortunately, a cap of £35 on this loan. However, if she moves to residential care the house will have to be sold to repay the mortgage. Then all her possessions will have to be stored or sold; there would be no option to rent the house out until the property market improves, so she will lose out yet again financially.

    Builder of no fixed abode - did some unnecessary work to MIL's roof which caused damage. Told her he had repaired the chimney, which he had not. Then came back to 'repair' another part of the property. Followed her into her bedroom when she went to get her cash! He decided she did not have enough in the house so got her to drive him to the bank and draw a large amount of cash 'for materials'. Police were very helpful but MIL was upset that I had called them in and insisted it was all a mistake.

    We installed security cameras outside. She kept unplugging them because she didn't want the police to have evidence, so we didn't get his picture when he came back. When he returned he must have been watching the house because it was during the 30 minutes when I left to do shopping on a day when I had been there all morning. She did not ring the police hotline number we gave her. She spoke to the rogue out of the window and said she wasn't feeling well so didn't want the work done. Needless to say he did not offer to return her money.

    She insisted to us that he would take her to court, and wouldn't listen to the police saying he was a known criminal, or rather she did, but that just made her more afraid of him and reluctant to get him into trouble for fear of repurcussions. Police eventually identified where he had been living but by that time he had b*****ed off for the winter and they didn't catch him.

    We've now taken the fan out of the security camera control box so she doesn't know it is still working. Perhaps we can then catch the next b*****d that comes to con her. We also have stickers on the front door, provided by the Police, that state "We will call the Police if you do not have an appointment." Didn't deter the guy who got her to sign a contract to change her electricity supply, but I caught him leaving and was able to make a complaint to his employer, which was taken seriously, and of course the contract was cancelled.

    Feel free to post your own stories on this thread, that is what it is for. Not only does it help to vent, but we will all learn some tips about who and what to avoid. And - how to be one step ahead of the cunning ways our dear relatives have of dodging our protection and throwing themselves at these people because the problem solving abilities of the rogues seem so plausible. :(:mad:
     
  2. ellejay

    ellejay Registered User

    Jan 28, 2011
    4,014
    Essex
    Hi, We've tried to get it into mum that if anyone calls, she is to say her daughter deals with everything and they need to contact me.Mum says she does that,but your guess is as good as mine.She was caught out by a energy supplier,who asked her to"just sign this to say I've spoken to you and I'll get paid" of course mum did and was surprised to find she had a new energy supplier. My OH wrote a stinking letter and mum got an apology. Interestingly,apparently their sales people are told they are not to use underhand tactics "especially with the elderly".
    Mum doesn't own her house so we don't have that problem,but money has gone missing,we've searched but have never managed to find it.We now limit the amount of cash she has at home, and I look after her bank card as she used to write her pin number down and attach it to the card!
     
  3. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    #3 Katrine, Feb 27, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
    Cash and bank accounts

    MIL remembers her PIN, which is a very simple number, I've seen her use it, so wouldn't be hard for someone to use the card if they found it. She used to regularly transfer funds from her deposit account to her current account and at one time was drawing cash up to 10 times a week. The logic was "I might not be able to get to the bank, so I need cash in the house". We explained that if she could not get to the bank she couldn't get to the shops, but that logic didn't stick. However, once she learned she could draw cash on her debit card at the sub-post office, she stopped going in to town to the bank. This has helped a great deal.

    My husband monitors her accounts online and feeds extra cash to the current account for her shopping. He says her use of cash has now dropped to a normal level for grocery shopping and lunch out once a week and she is no longer hiding hundreds of pounds in her knicker drawer. When that was still happening I would take the surplus and tell her I was going to put it back in the bank to be safe. She then hid her cash under the drawer liners, laid out thinly so it would not show. One day she decided to tidy her drawers and was delighted to 'find' a large cash sum, but cross that when she showed it to me I took it away!

    Oh dear, it must be horrible to have people interfere like that. And when she was younger and only stubborn, not demented, she would never have been so silly with cash. I can remember her saying she didn't understand why old people kept their cash under the mattress when it was safer in the bank. I guess her concept of 'safety' has shifted. Now everything that needs protecting has to be kept in her bedroom. As if a thief would not know that. As if an intruder wouldn't just turn out the drawers on to the floor or threaten her until she told him where it was. Doesn't bear thinking about. That's why we added security cameras and warning stickers - it tends to make these people move down the road to an easier target. We keep her car taxed and MOT'd and on view, even though she no longer drives. It gives a message of mental competence. Her road is all old people's bungalows, and they are easy pickings for these rogues.
     
  4. bunnies

    bunnies Registered User

    May 16, 2010
    432
    I agree we need to be aware just how easy it is to swindle a person on their own with this illness. To list just a few that happened to us..

    The new handyman/gardener who became familiar, and then helped himself to everything (all the expensive tools) in the garage, before disappearing.

    British Gas - applying considerable pressure to get my aunt to install a new boiler which she didn't need. Even after I complained to them about this, they did it again. The only reason she didn't hand over the money was that by this stage she was reluctant to sign things, so kept hold of the papers so I found them when I came and hid them from her.

    British Gas later claiming (as part of a service agreement) that her gas fire was unsafe and needed replacing, when it was a new fire I had just had installed and safety checked by a reputable company. I got that company back to check again, and they confirmed it was prefectly safe.

    People knocking on the door offering to 'buy'(no doubt for peanuts) antique items they had seen through the window. Also people selling aerial photographs of the house (I think she handed over £500 for a photograph).

    Some companies apparently let people order things and have them delivered before paying for them. Someone used my aunt's address for delivery, and then my aunt would have been charged for the item. Littlewoods told me that fraudsters hang around houses where an elderly person lives and pretend to be gardening so they can take delivery of the item and then disappear. In this case Littlewoods spotted something dodgy and didn't deliver.

    On a more positive note - it was a puzzle to me for ages that my aunt managed to go shopping, when it seemed to me she couldn't remember her pin number and never had enough cash for the enormous amount of (unnecessary!) items she bought. Until I went shopping with her and discovered that she only went on certain days and to a certain till, where the man working there knew her pin number! I watched the whole thing happened, and he apologised to me, but said he had to do it for 'quite a few ladies'. I thought he was an absolute gem - because of him she had been able to carry on shopping which was such a pleasure for her. However, it clearly could have been a risk if the person had instead been a crook.

    Bunnies
     
  5. hongkongsandy

    hongkongsandy Registered User

    Mar 3, 2009
    123
    uk
    Mum bought a couple of unused timeshares. Managed to get the money back on the 2nd but we must have been put on some easy target spam phone call list. They drive me nuts, but 'luckily' mum is to bad now to be able to pay them if they do get her on the phone.

    Where did people get the no caller stickers, have been to the local police station previously but they never provided them.
     
  6. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Precautions

    So sorry to hear that Kassy, our £3K pales into insignificance compared to that level of financial loss, and the inside knowledge that those people had to defraud a vulnerable person. Online banking for deposit accounts would prevent bank staff from dipping in - if the account is changed to online access only. We think in our case that the cash must have been given to a family member, probably to pay for petrol and other expenses that MIL was allowed to think that she owed them. We've searched the house and cannot find a stash. It wasn't one lump sum, it was regular withdrawals of cash that exceeded her expenditure, and no goods to show for it. Good news is that the problem has stopped. If it was a family member they are well and truly warned off by the level of monitoring that now takes place.

    I got the stickers from my local police station. Most police forces do issue these. Ask again, and if no luck then ring your force's crime prevention unit, or ask at the CAB. If still no luck then ring your local Age UK office - they are bound to know the right contacts, e.g. neighbourhood watch schemes, community safety officer etc.
     
  7. ellejay

    ellejay Registered User

    Jan 28, 2011
    4,014
    Essex
    Reading these posts I'm so glad that mum lives in a council house and just has her late husbands pension to cover all her bills (in bank) and her pension in the Post Office.If the PO money builds up we transfer it into her bank.She won't go out by herself so she always has a family member to take her shopping.She can still be conned by a casual caller but only to a small amount,
     
  8. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    No cold callers

    Trading Standards at the local council is another avenue for getting hold of the stickers. Some councils have 'no cold caller' schemes.
     
  9. carolsea

    carolsea Registered User

    Feb 22, 2010
    147
    South Yorks
    My Mum was conned out of £10k + by a 'helpful' neighbour and his brother.
    They did her shopping and theirs at the same time. Mum wasn't aware that they were paying for their own stuff on her bill -took me ages to realise what was happening.
    The brother was a buiulder who did endless 'little jobs' for Mum because she didn't want to bother us for the help (we were miles away at that time). Unfortunately the bills were not little, but Mum hid from us the large the amounts she was paying him.
    Cash and jewellery went missing from the house.
    The police were informed but never got enough evidence to prosecute, although the brothers were 'known to them'.
    Mum went into care. Sadly her respite CH tried to rip her off by putting up the fees by £194 pw once she became a permanent self funder.......are our loved ones safe nowhere?
    Carol
     
  10. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    1,807
    stairlift and reclining chair sales people....

    My mum bought her reclining chair from the very nice man who had made an appointment after her response to an advert...

    He understood all about the difficulties of having newly lost a spouse like Mum had, and then luckily it turned out that the chair was on a special offer that month, after he had phoned head office, of being half the normal price! Mum was so pleased...

    She told me all this as this was some years before her dementia, but she was still very vulnerable and totally taken in by the "very nice man". I then watched a "Watchdog" style programme, and guess what, the salesman could empathise with the recently bereaved widow, the chair was on special offer that month, etc etc

    And whilst her stairlift keeps her able to use her house, the buy-back price is paltry in comparison to the original purchase price of the re-conditioned stairlift, and there is a fairly hefty annual maintenance charge for the one annual visit for maintenance (which doesn't take very long) but does provide a warranty for quick repair if it breaks down.

    Mum struggles with two difficult steps up to get out of her house, difficult especially with a wheeled walker - Social Services said that whatever they might possibly be able to do to sort that would exceed the amount they were allowed to spend free of charge. So they gave her the details of professional wheelchair type lifts - starting price in the £3000+ bracket to overcome a two step rise of 12". We got a carpenter to make a ramp to deal with the problem - but still several hundred pounds for some wood, ply, carpeting and chippie time....

    I'm sure we could all add to these stories with regard to the cost of all the other age/disability related items that can be bought - amazing just how expensive it all is. :rolleyes:
     
  11. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Tips!

    :eek: Crikey, never even thought of that! Post people seem fine - we've checked on the cameras. But the bin men have to come on to her property to collect the bins (special arrangement with the council). What if one of them had called at the house and charged her for this? Or the paper boy asked for the money at the door even though we pay the account by DD? You would think that she'd say, but who knows. Keep the ideas coming everyone :D
     
  12. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Dark side of humanity

    There is a terribly primitive side to human nature, where some people despise those who are vulnerable or disabled and think they are using up other people's oxygen. :( If you are able to see someone else as less than human then you don't mind exploiting or hurting them. I don't need to give specifics on that one, do I. The concept of the 'banality of evil' applies, whereby people can come to believe that doing wicked things is normal (corrupt bank employees would fall into that category, they had developed a morally distorted mini-culture in their office). I don't think people like that lose sleep over what they do; they have found a way to justify it to themselves. Thank goodness most people are kind and generally trustworthy. Just don't drop a bundle of £50 notes in their car - it has been said that we all have our price! Got to lighten the mood a bit, I was getting overly psychobabble there :D
     
  13. Rosie

    Rosie Registered User

    Jun 10, 2004
    235
    South East Wales, UK.
    Goodness it so awful reading all these postings, how can another human being take so much advantage of someone who is elderly & vunerable, it makes me feel sick to the stomach. what is this world coming to?? there has to be some decent people left out there somewhere?!? i know there is good, caring, warm people here & i'm so thankful for that.. lets hope theses horrible , advantage taking people get what they deserve eventually, something nasty & horrible happen to them!! what is this world coming to???.....
     
  14. CarrieH

    CarrieH Registered User

    Dec 31, 2010
    182
    Isle of Wight
    What awful stories you all have to tell. My great aunt died back in 2001 aged 90, her husband having died in 1998. She was as sharp as a pin mentally, but we were always suspicious of the 'helpful' neighbour. He was forever calling round to borrow things and if he saw a pile of finished ironing would offer to carry it upstairs for her. We tried to tell my aunt she needed to be careful because so much of her jewellery was on open show. She had a lot of expensive jewellery. My aunt and uncle never had children, never had a car and after retiring went on around 7 holidays a year. On each holiday my uncle would buy my aunt and expensive piece of jewellery. It was after her death that we found a lot of her jewellery was missing. My uncle had been great at squirrelling things away in safe places when he was alive, so my dad, as one of the executors, took up all the floorboards etc to find all the hiding places before the house was sold. That house was topped and tailed, so the jewellery was definitely not hidden. We didn't actually know how much jewellery had gone missing, but certainly there were some pieces we were all used to seeing which had gone or other items which had been replaced with similar looking gold plate items.
     
  15. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,951
    I am sorry to say that my mum had this before she became really bad with dementia from the RSPCA, she had contributed what she felt was a fairly generous donation to them and they rang her to say they now needed more, and she was persuaded to set up a direct debit because she said she felt guilty if she didn't.

    I have experienced similar from charities making phone calls after receiving donations, I give them short shrift.

    Pippa
     
  16. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Charity begins at home

    I am all for people giving to charity; where would be without so many voluntary and charitable organisations. However, I do wonder what prompted my mother to change her will to give 50% of her estate divided between 3 charities - lucky them! She was already a generous charitable giver, with many direct debits in place. I am afraid I have cancelled those DDs which applied to the future beneficiaries; we kind of need some of that money now for household bills and they'll get plenty one day soon. Perhaps that was mean spirited of me, in which case "I'll get mine" one day soon! :D
     
  17. ella24

    ella24 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2008
    1,024
    South Coast UK
    Easy - I'll tell you what prompted her - the charities now approach people with a 'free will making service' - and apply pressure on you to 'remember (charity name) in your will'

    My guess is that was how they did it. It can be arranged by phone or by chugging(charity 'mugging' you on the street) / doorknocking
     
  18. CarrieH

    CarrieH Registered User

    Dec 31, 2010
    182
    Isle of Wight
    One of my friends had always donated annually to a particular charity until the year they sent out their publicity with a 'minimum donation' amount. She'd always given over that, but felt that charity was an individual's choice and the amount should be a choice too, so they lost a donor at that point.
    As for charities and wills, we had a family member who donated a couple of acres of woodland to a charity. Said charity contested for the entire estate which with the farm and farmland ran into millions. Took over 14 years to get the estate sorted and much of it was swallowed up in paying assorted legal fees. We were informed by various solicitors that this sort of thing happens a lot.
     
  19. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Chugging - I like that expression!

    :eek: Thank goodness my mother hasn't got any woodland, what a horror story! I expect Ma was pressurised over the phone but she did have her will drafted by her solicitor and there are three charity beneficiaries, not just one. I wouldn't mind so much but of the many charities she supports the ones on the list are not the ones I would have chosen, and she can no longer remember what they are anyway so it's not like she had a lifelong commitment to those particular causes. All charities have their value but personally I would rather support people charities.

    Anyway, it wasn't my choice or my money, except that if she hadn't changed her will I would be getting a third not a sixth of her estate. I try not to think about it. If all her money gets used up on providing her with care and comforts that's absolutely fine by me. My brother agrees that we should spend as needed. So not a loft conversion or a Ferrari, but getting the drive re-done and maybe replacing her 12-year old car are large items of expenditure that can be justified as being in her best interests for safety and to maintain her property in good order.

    Ma's solicitor confirmed that the charities have not been informed they are beneficiaries and are only entitled to their percentage, not a set amount. This means that if she went into residential care they wouldn't have a first call on her money, they only get a proportion of her estate when she dies. So they might get £100K or they might get £10K, it just depends what's left over.
     
  20. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Sadly, one of a few times my mother was ‘scammed’ the police reported back that other targets on a mixed, private housing development were all those in bungalow accommodation and with grab rails or some other evidence of frailty/vulnerability about the occupant(s). :mad: The very things we put in place to ensure their physical safety can attract the very scum we seek to protect them from.:(

    Interesting .... having been a ‘beneficiary’ of a will which left us with debts to pay that the deceased had run up (!!!!) – what happens if one or more charities (rather than kith and kin) are nominated and there is a ‘debit’ balance in the estate? Presumably the debts are written off for them? No idea – but food for thought ....

    Karen
     

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