So my Mother called me the other day…

She received an email from one of her neighbors. The email said that this particular neighbor was having a rough go and needed my Mom to get her a gift cardfor either Amazon or Apple.

Now, I know most of you are thinking the same thing as I thought about this email…

But my Mom…

My Mom can be a very trusting and helpful sort of person. If someone is in trouble she will try to help. She has a sort of Capraesque view of the world, where good wins out over evil and all the other stuff. She assumes that people are good, and that no one tries to take advantage of another.

In theory I guess it would be nice to be that trusting. But you know…I’m a realist not an idealist…so most of the time I’m looking for the angle.

Is this real?

Can I trust this?

What’s the possible downside?

My mother emails back, asking how she can help. She gives her “friend” her phone numbers in case her “friend” can’t find them. And then she proceeds to try to figure out how to buy the gift card.

Now this is a time when I am glad that my Mother is not tech savvy. She couldn’t figure out how to buy the gift cards.

My Mother then calls her friend, to tell her that she can’t buy the cards…

You probably know that the friend’s email account was hacked.

My Mother called me, worried that these scammers have her phone number, and she responded to the email. She was worried that accounts could be opened up in her name using her phone numbers. Honestly, I don’t know anymore what people can and can’t do with information, any information, so I told my Mom to watch her statements and she uses one of those companies that call you when an account is trying to be opened, so I told her to just monitor things…

After I got off the phone with her I heaved a big sigh. While I have got over scams with my daughter ad infinitum, I never thought I would have to go through this with my Mother. I assumed that my Mother would just know when something seems off…But now I really have to worry that she will think the Crown Prince of Nigeria really needs her help.

I love that my Mom is trusting and wants to help others, but now this is a new worry that I have to contend with. Realistically I know that I can’t protect my Mom, but it sort of crushes me that I can’t stop bad people, bad things from hurting her. This is the part about being a daughter that no one really talks about- when the child becomes the parent and the protector.

I sit and try to figure out where to go from here. Is there anything I can do to help my Mother than I hadn’t thought of? Is there any way to prepare? I have to remind myself that there’s not always a solution to things: that there are things that I can’t write as a list and check off the things I’ve done and look ahead to what comes next…

I realize that this is where I need hope: hope that things won’t be too bad, hope that I can fix whatever happens, hope that life will be pleasantly uneventful.

Hope. Sometimes it’s the best option.

75 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday- The Scam

  1. Maybe there’s a good video you can share with your mom to teach her how to handle these things. Check with you local area on aging agency to see what resources they have.

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  2. It’s so sad and ridiculous that so many scammers target out older folks. I have clients that aren’t any regular communication with their kids so scammers have found their way in. I have stopped so many for them. Pisses me off!!!

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      1. It is very sad indeed. We all want our loved ones to feel safe. Even I have been very nearly scammed a few times. Too easy. We all like to be trusting. You are looking out for your mum wonderfully.

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      1. My mom was not savvy so she was easily taken in. This was on the phone, she didnt have a computer. That would have been worse. It is wonderful that older folks are so trusting but unfortunately it can have bad results. Bless them.

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  3. These email phishing scams and phone scams are egregious. Technologically innocent folks are disproportionately older, but not-so-old folks can fall for these scams as well. If the scammers didn’t find marks they wouldn’t stay in business. It is SO, SO SAD. I don’t know if a really big, extensive PSA campaign would help or not, but warnings are needed. It happens too frequently. 🥲

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    1. It can happen to anyone at any time. I don’t know how we prevent it. My mother in law got a call that her granddaughter was kidnapped or something like that. Ridiculous

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  4. I think signing up for a monitoring system is good. Also, I added two-step authentication to my bank account. My daughter’s senior year of college, one of her teammates was told he owed the IRS $1,200 and to send Apple gift cards to an address. He bought them at the grocery store and the clerk asked him if he really wanted to do this. He did it. He wiped out his last quarter of college funds. He’s now in medical school.

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      1. On a different note, I was working on my work in progress and I just wrote a scene where the book smart character gets taken in by a scam like that!!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I consider myself pretty computer savvy, especially for someone in my age bracket . I was the person my friends called when they needed tech help or to get them out of a tech crisis. And it’s embarrassing to realize that now and then, I need help too. Especially, since these days scammers are very sophisticated.

    If I get a questionable email these days I’ll forward it to my youngest son and my usual question is, “ Is this real or fake? He always gets back to me. 99% of the time I can tell if it’s fake but sometimes it’s hard to tell. I’ve learned that while I’m back in cancer treatment and on strong medication, now is NOT the time to make tech decisions.
    Just this weekend I asked my youngest son to help me solve a tech mystery. I paid a credit card bill and there was no record of the card receiving the payment, yet funds were clearly deducted from my account. I was sick from chemo, drugged from nausea meds, and worried I had been scammed or hacked.

    The hardest thing for me to acknowledge is that I could have gotten fooled, or worse, confused. Why just this past weekend i gave my youngest son access to various banking info and asked for his help. (since his current job as an assistant director on a popular tv show is now on hiatus), he had the time to research where my $ went. Turns out, my bank had added my money to a savings account rather than paying off the balance on one of my cards. So at least the money was still in my possession. My head was just too hazy on pain/ nausea meds when I paid my bill and who knows what I pressed …Anyhow, my youngest son straightened it out, set me up with a new excell chart of my new 2023 monthly expenses and gave me some tech tips for the future.

    I’m glad you are able to help your mom. And It is true that seniors are targeted. I get crazy phone calls and emails daily. But I’m usually good about recognizing scams. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a tech savvy offspring who can save the day every now and then. So, LA, Keep your Wonder Woman cape, you’ll likely need it again as your folks get older. Lol

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  6. Older folks are ripe for the picking for scammers. They are of a generation that tends to trust banking institutions, doctors and, sometimes, electronic correspondence from friends. It’s good you were able to school her on this before she was fleeced! 💜

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  7. As I get older I worry that I will eventually fall for a scam like this. My defence? I just don’t do technology. It makes life a touch more difficult as time goes on, but I will never be able to donate my cash to a scammer with a press of a button because I’m not set up to do anything at the press of a button. Oh, and I hate my neighbours so I would never get caught out by trying to help. 🙂

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  8. LA, you’ve just highlighted one of those crazy worries that haunts my nightmares. I worry that my mother or one of my kids could fall prey to a scam. Heck, let me be honest, I worry that my wife or I will. I like to think of myself as semi-tech savvy but it’s so easy to fall prey. But like you I’ve come to the conclusion, that yes, I could spend a ton of time fearful and worried, but where would that get me. Instead, I’ve tried to set up checks and balances and, as you say, hope that if something ever happens, we’ll catch ourselves. I’d much rather spend my life like that than living in fear. Anyway, great post!

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    1. It could be any of us!! There are times my husband will ask…”is this real” and I look at him and tell him to delete…. Some of the scams are really well laid out

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  9. Ugh ! Sorry about all this. Your Mom sounds like my husband’s grandma. Always giving!! And not believing any bad about anyone. . She gor a phone call once wanting her to send money. My husband’s Aunt was there at the time thankdully. The scammer said, “Hi, this is your granddaughter. ”
    Mamaw replied, “Tina?”
    Scammer -“Yes, it’s me Tina…”
    My husband’s Aunt had to take the phone for Mamaw believed it was really Tina.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These people are brilliant in their own way. It’s just too bad they don’t use their brilliance for something productive. And hoping that life is pleasantly uneventful for your mom (and you) as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Actually the elderly are very at risk of scammers. I’m glad she didn’t get ripped off but it sounds like it came close. Maybe you can get her to show you anything like that she gets in the future ? Any request for money or threats from the “IRS or social security” or requests for account numbers that the sender should already have.

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  12. Well, I fell for something this week and I pride myself in triple checking things. I got a message from LinkedIn about something. The message looked like all of their OTHER emails. So, I clicked on the link. THEN I forgot, I should have looked at the actual email address, which of course was a bit strange. I forward that scam message to LinkedIn and they gave me the lecture of don’t click on anything, blah, blah, blah. Of course, I know that, but these emails are getting exhausting to figure out. So, I clicked on something, don’t know if it will infect my computer, but decided i can’t lose sleep over it. Funny too, because I normally delete everything…. SO, it doesn’t take just old age to fall for something. These crooks are really coming at us in all directions. Sorry about your Mom, I feel for her.

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      1. You’re right, it’s getting to the point that even if we did something a second before and got the email, we have to double check. So annoying OR let’s say we have an auto renew every year. We need to start verifying those emails too.

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  13. Yup. This has happened enough times to my mom and dad with the robocalls that they’re about to be arrested. I’m finally comfortable enough to say that I think they get it now. They don’t even bother responding to numbers they don’t recognize.

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  14. Hope sure keeps us going. Glad to know that your mom called her friend and sometimes it is a boon to not be tech savvy! I totally agree that we reach an age, middle age, when we are the caretakers / protectors of two generations – our kids and our parents. It’s a huge responsibility, I am going through that and I can totally relate! See you around blogging!

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