By Steve Moran

My 91-year-old stepfather, Gary, lives with us. He is declining physically and cognitively. He also has a significant net worth. His daily routine is to sleep into the early afternoon, watch TV, talk to old friends on the phone, and browse the internet until late in the evening. Rinse and repeat the next day.

I came back from my morning walk with the dogs to hear him engaged in a loud, heated phone conversation with someone. It was odd that it was happening in the morning, but sometimes he does get morning calls from old friends. At first I thought he was simply in a heated discussion about presidential politics.

As I continued to listen I heard the words “bank account” and realized something was going on. I stepped into his room, listened for a few seconds, and realized he was on the phone with a scammer who was trying to persuade him that he was being investigated for some possible criminal activity and that the only way he could get out of it was to give them his bank information.

My Turn

I told him I was sure it was a scam, and the thief could hear me talking to him. Gary handed me the phone, and the scammer began telling me he was with Gary’s bank. My immediate response was to ask what bank, which he couldn’t tell me.

The jig was up. We spent the next few minutes trading insults until finally I hung up. I found it odd that he didn’t just move on.

I also know they will call again.

We are very fortunate that Gary is super protective of his money, but I am also convinced that if I had not stepped in, he would have ultimately been manipulated into giving a significant amount of money to the scammers.

Scams Abound

The FBI estimates older people in the US lost an astonishing 3.4 billion dollars to scammers. These horrible human beings would not hesitate to steal the lifetime savings of honest people — your residents — bankrupting them.

The lesson here is that you cannot spend too much time talking to your residents about this problem.