Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When the ruthless prey on elderly victims, Financial Guardianship may be the only answer

Wall Street Journal has good article by Karen Blumenthal on just how ruthless and hard to stop are the scams against the elderly.

She writes of an aging patriarch in his 70s, an Ivy League-educated professional who sent thousands and thousands of dollars to strangers. Government agencies at all levels are fragmented by their jurisdictions and priorities and scammers are particularly bold and brazen, because they know they won't be caught.

In these tough financial times people are susceptible when they think they have a change to make up for losses in retirement savings, housing values, etc. It's particularly effective on the elderly who have lost some of their mental capacity, or are stressed by illness or loss of a spouse.

Once a person responds to a scammer, they become part of a sucker list that makes them a broad target as the lists are sold a over and over again throughout the world.

These predators spend a lot of time getting to know their victims and building up trust. They learn their target's interests, routines, pets, children, about their neighbors and their churches, and finally about their bank accounts. Through all of it, the victim often begin to consider the caller a friend.

In the end a financial guardianship maybe the only way to stop it.

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