Why the Scammers are Winning and What you Can Do to Help

The scammers are winning over and over again. They give attention, value, and even a mission. A recent New York Times OpEd “My Grandmother’s Favorite Scammer” clearly illustrates how much this woman desired to be heard, counted on, and involved. When we step in to help our family, we often forget to honor the human in front of us.

I often talk with adult children who want to know how to protect their loved ones. The most important way to help them is to listen, engage, and be available to them when they want it. Consider why they are continuing to answer the phone. They want to connect, which for many that stay at home all day, means conversations on the phone. The last year has made the phone the only life-line of human interaction and the scammers made the most of it … and don’t seem to be slowing down.

I have heard several individuals who I have worked with after they were scammed that they didn’t mind giving the “gifts” to the individuals that were giving them attention. One family friend was told by her sister that it was worth 10% of her wealth to have the interesting conversations and engagement she was having with her European “boyfriend.”

While I do recommend you consider spam blocking software and apps for email, the computer, and the home and or mobile phones, I just ask that you consider the emotions behind the interest in talking to a stranger on the phone.

Are there some other ways to help with engagement, purpose, and meaning when your loved ones goal is to live in their home alone? Contemplated.

I would love to hear if and how you have had success – whether it’s a roommate moving in or the use of some technology or apps.

Praying on Those Who Would Help

The number of COVID scams continues to grow. I got this email yesterday and wonder how many people immediately jump to volunteer — we have more time (seemingly) and we all want to help kick COVID to the curb.

What bothers me about these types of messages, besides just being poorly executed (not my email address; the “From” email address that is goobly-gook behind the name of “Clinical Research”, what is it a “Verification” of?) is that I know many people are interested in helping. The fact that a good deed gets punished by a scammer bums me out.

For those of us with loved ones that we know are feeling more isolated, the phone and computer can be a source of entertainment … and danger. I have had several clients fall for pop-ups and they called and gave out login and banking information to the bad people. Thankfully, we could shut down and recover quickly and no money has been lost — but to have it happen so frequently now tells me it’s important to be more vigilant.

For several clients, we have created a “white list” so they get their messages from the people they know, but all the others get either blocked or filtered. When we visit (or when family visits) they can go through the other messages together. Some family members do a daily check-in and filter out the bad messages. A little more vigilance can go a long way. Protected.