Preying on the most vulnerable!
Mary (pseudonym) worked hard all her life and put together a modest nest egg for retirement. Guarding her savings, Mary was her husband’s primary caregiver, choosing not to pay for help in their home.
After her husband’s passing Mary began to receive the telephone calls from a stranger. Lonely and vulnerable, Mary listened to the kind words from someone who sprinkled the conversation with questions and comments that connected to Mary’s international roots, church affiliation and widowed status with no children.
The caller having established a degree of rapport and trust went in ‘for the kill’. “Mary, the reason I called you is that you have won a one-million-dollar prize and I need your help to secure your winnings. I need you to send me money to complete the process and for you to receive your million dollars.” What followed were other calls and additional asks for money to cover taxes, filing fees, lawyers, etc.
Overtime Mary drained her savings. Once Mary stated she had no more money, the predator told her to sell jewelry to raise cash. Ashamed and embarrassed Mary finally confided the story to an overseas family member. The family member contacted Mary’s godchild in Maryland and authorities intervened.
Eventually Seabury Care Manager, Michelle McGrath was brought in to help salvage the situation. “Mary is a caring and trusting person, who people connect with”, commented Michelle. “Mary’s trusting nature made her an easy mark for the scammers.” Michelle want on, “We think her husband’s obituary provided the details to identify Mary as a target and set the trap.”
The National Council on Aging estimates that the annual cost of elder financial abuse is up to $36.5 billion. Mary was fortunate that despite her substantial financial loss, family members, Maryland Adult Protective Services and Seabury Care Management were able to intervene and help her get past this crime. Many others have not fared as well.