Gransnet forums

Care & carers

Scam mail and the elderly and elderly confused

(12 Posts)
Gracesgran Sat 07-May-16 10:29:06

I am so angry. I had to redirect my mother's mail (I have POA) which was an awful decision to make - taking away another bit of her independence. Sadly we could not convince her not to reply to the "you have won" letters she received. She asked first a carer and then her hairdresser to post envelopes stuffed with money - it is her money and she should be able to do what she wants but she is my mother and I don't want her to be scammed sad They were both quite uncomfortable about the whole thing but we organised that if she did ask they would take away the envelope (or she got angry with them which is not her at all) and let me know. This did not stop her trying and she was very angry with me - "well, it's you that's going to loose out" so, in the end the family agreed that I should redirect the mail.

Since her mail has been coming to me I would estimate two or three a week come through. I am saving them to dump on our MP eventually. They are so obvious but the Royal Mail are doing nothing about them even though they say they check for this sort of mail.

Today I got one saying "we have a cheque for £20,000 or other item that is in a package you can now claim and listing alternatives that may be in the package. All she would have to do is complete the claim form and send £19.95 to cover processing, delivery and insurance. The address on this says The Netherlands but the address are all over the world and this is, of course, a PO Box.

Poor, poor people who have no defence against these wicked blood suckers. Why is it not being stopped?

Willow500 Sat 07-May-16 14:42:21

It's dreadful and only one of thousands of such scams. The other day there was an item on breakfast tv about scams and it showed a map of the world which was flashing - every flash was another one happening live. As the day goes on they change with the time zones. I guess for as long as people are making money from it they can't stop it. Well done on managing to help your mum avoid giving her money to the thieves - unfortunately they just don't understand. My parents were very gullible in their later years and Mum would say things like he was such a nice young man after inviting someone into the house!

annsixty Sat 07-May-16 15:03:09

Sadly we do have to act to protect them if they can't protect themselves.
My H can't deal with finance at all now. He asked me recently if all of his pension income is stored in the local branch of his bank as he doesn't spend any of it.
It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.
In his working life he handled a huge property portfolio which was invested for a major pension fund

Gracesgran Sat 07-May-16 15:41:16

You are right about the random comments. My mother asked me yesterday if I was working at Sainsbury's. I know there is a thread of logic there somewhere but I have never worked in retail and have been retired for six years. I do wonder what she was thinking. You end up saying yes and no so that they don't feel even more confused. When I asked mum (some time ago now) why she believed the letters were true she said "because it's in black and white". I was in tears on the way home. With all the problems they (and we) have there are people out there praying on them. I don't think it is beyond the wit of the post office to stop these at least.

flowers for you annsixty. I have no idea how people deal with this in a partner and for 24 hours a day

Gracesgran Sat 07-May-16 15:45:26

Willow letting people in is another worry. I can almost understand why some people think about CCTV! smile

Jalima Sat 07-May-16 16:00:29

You've done the right thing Gracesgran

MIL was not really confused - she could discuss politics and other issues very rationally and knew what was what with the news etc. However, she was always thinking she had won something, (Reader's Digest were going to send a car to collect her at least once a month to be presented with her prize) and would order books and many other things that she didn't really need or want simply because she was bombarded with offers. Not scams exactly, as they weren't so prevalent then, but she used to end up paying for all this stuff because she was unable to send it back.
She also used to invite people in simply because she was lonely, even though family visited as often as they could.

ElaineI Sat 07-May-16 16:53:54

It's awful that these scammers target older people. It's a pity that local postmen can't be trained to watch out for scam letters for some of their vulnerable adults. I think Trading Standards can get involved as I get training in care of vulnerable adults as a nurse and now a Trading Standards Inspector gives a presentation about things like that and bogus workmen. Some banks also watch out for older clients.

jinglbellsfrocks Sat 07-May-16 18:05:52

It's even worse than all these requests from charities some older people keep getting in the post. David Cameron spoke out about that in parliament recently. It was when that poor old 92 year lady old took her life in Bristol a little while back.

You would do right to give this information to your MP, then it could be dealt with at the same time.

Gracesgran Sat 07-May-16 18:59:23

I will do Jbf but not while she might be aware, she would be so mortified.

It is good to hear that carers are getting training Elainel but it would be even better if they didn't need to be. It's never going to happen I know - that would be another world altogether smile

Gracesgran Sat 07-May-16 19:22:51

Jalima, mum seemed very with us when this started, in fact I do think it often feeds on the loneliness of the elderly.

Like your MIL we did see mum as often as possible then - she was still getting out and shopping but I wonder if she missed Dad even more than we could imagine. The postman coming is something special and it plays on that.

We didn't know about it until the bank took her chequebook away as she was very confused about her bank accounts. By then they had made her a loan and her credit card was (for her) well used. I think it took me a year to sort it all out and get her back on the straight and narrow (we sorted out POA at this point too).

When the bank had asked her if family could help her but she had said there was no one; as I said she was mortified that she wasn't coping and I had no idea and, to be honest, would have been fobbed off if I had asked. When my daughter and I went with her to the bank it was apparent that the "personal" banker had recognised the name of the firm she was sending the money to (for overpriced items she didn't need in order to win the never forthcoming "prize") and that had made her withdraw the chequebook. To this day I am not sure if she should have done but I am very grateful she did.

I have seen this highlighted as the start of Dementia (mum was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's) but I think it is at least as much to do with the age they grew up in. Dad did all the finances and mum was brilliant with cash but once she had the accounts to run things went wrong. I found black bags full of correspondence - at least these come straight to me sad

Gracesgran Sat 07-May-16 19:25:02

Sorry everyone, I know I am dumping all my sadness and frustration on you and I have no idea why this one letter upset me so much; maybe because it was so undisguised so obviously meant for the vulnerable.

annsixty Sat 07-May-16 19:37:59

That is absolutely fine * GG* we who live with it understand the frustration and sadness this condition invokes, we deal with it everyday.