Monday, October 5, 2009

Spidey Man and the Bandits.....

Monday, October 5, 2009....

Last Monday, I posted about a scam phone call I received (Mish Mash Monday) and many posted comments about how scary this was because elderly people would probably get taken.

When I was reading your comments I never imagined that Spidey Man (my 87 year old father -- see Spidey Man Intro for better peek of my dad) would be the victim of such scam artists. But, he was.

Spidey is very protective of his personal information and when Publisher's Clearing House called to tell him he won $2.5 million dollars, he was thrilled. Luckily, he shared this tidbit with my other sister as he was driving her home from the train station Friday night.

He told her they were coming to the house Saturday to go to the bank with him where he'd give them a check for $350 and they'd make the transfer of $2.5 million into his account.

She lost her mind (rightfully so), but couldn't be there Saturday to greet the scam artists, so she called me.

Bill and I called the police department the night before, not much could really be done, but we were to get license plate #. My other sister arranged with the neighbor for us to park in their driveway so the scumbag, oh, I mean scam artist, wouldn't know we were there.

We go to Spidey Man's early Saturday a.m., Bill armed with a camera and me with a lot of sorrow and disgust knowing there are people who would rob an old man of his life savings.

Bill stayed by the car because he wanted to surprise the scumbags, oops, there I go again, I mean scam artists, and I went in.

Luckily, my dad listened to my sister and thought about what she said. The fake Publisher's Clearing house people called and when he told the person he hadn't mailed them the check and a trusted finance person told him not to do this, the representative told him to hold for the President of Publisher's Clearing House.

The "President" also tried to convince my dad what a great deal this was, Spidey told them under no terms not to come to the house and no check was going to be mailed to them. Publishing Clearing House hung up on him.

We had a long chat. I learned they wanted him to mail a check for $350 to a residential address in Charlotte, NC to handle the mailing expenses of the $2.5 million dollar check. Oh. My. God. Really? Has anyone paid $350 in shipping charges to send an envelope via UPS? Besides, if they were already coming over to go to the bank with my dad to give him the check, why does he have to incur a shipping charge?

Things I learned from my dad about this call:

1. When the scumbags (okay, let's just call them what they are) called, they told him they were from Publisher's Clearing House in Syosett, NY (I explained to Spidey any info can be found on the Internet).

2. They wanted $350 for shipping via UPS (asked my dad had he ever incurred a shipping charge that high for mailing a package....and asked him if he thought it fair to pay upfront for a winning).

3. My dad asked me how they knew he had submitted entries to Publishing Clearing House (I explained they probably didn't, but because he was receptive to their statement they went with it).


This was a close call. He had a check in an envelope ready to go (I ripped into pieces) and I gave him some info about scam sweepstakes to read. I told him the best defense was to be armed with knowledge.

Spidey is afraid, okay paranoid, about someone getting his personal info and we discussed what had happened. I explained once they had his banking info they could steal and worse case scenario remortgage his house and default on the loan. He thought the bank would stop someone from electronically withdrawing funds from his account and when I told him it wasn't their responsibility to do this, his ears perked up.

He went to the bank with a list of checks that he had written and froze the account (except for these checks). He was going to close it out and open a new one.

Only after explaining to him how other elderly people without children could be taken by these scumbags did he easily give up the info. I think he was embarrassed for falling for such a scam, but I assured him, others of all ages are being taken.

I just don't know what to really do with this info to make a difference and stop others from being taken.

I wonder if UPS or Publisher's Clearing House have gotten complaints from similar scams?

It broke my heart to see my dad, a man I leaned on growing up, be taken. Things will be changing for him and I hope he'll be able to cope.

30 comments:

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

people can be so terrible! I get email scams and shit CONSTANTLY.

mylittlebecky said...

there are no words that can describe these people in their absolute scumbagness. i'm so glad that your family found out about this before it happened. ugh.

Multiple personalities.. said...

Wow! I'm so glad you and your sister were there to intercept the scumbags (yup, I said it!) before they got their hooks in your father. And I'm glad you posted about it, so people who come read will be made aware. I can only imagine how angry the whole situation made you. Good for you for protecting your dad! Thanks for stopping by my blog, it was lovely to 'meet' you! :-D

kyslp said...

That is terrible! Thank goodness you and your sister were there so nothing terrible happened. My parents live in FL and they get calls/letters that are obviously a scam about once a month.

Deborah said...

That is so sad..I am glad your Dad said something. People can be so mean and take total advantage. I'm glad he changed all his accounts.
On a lighter note, thanks for joining my blog!

Helen McGinn said...

I am horrified the police said there was nothing they could do! That is utterly disgraceful. I'm not too impressed with the police; what about having a plain clothes police man or woman waiting inside the house, ready to arrest the person turning up?? Grrr. This makes me so mad. We've had to have this kind of chat with my father in law and I got angry with how taken in he was; angry not at him, I hasten to add but at the people who commit these acts. To an old man, it sounds so plausible and genuine.

I'm so glad you stopped him from sending the cheque, he would have kept it to himself no doubt, once he realised as do many people, out of embarrassment and that (along with police not really taking it seriously) is why they get away with it time after time.

La La La Leah said...

Wow, that really is heart breaking.... I don't want to get old... who knows all the crap they will have to steal all my personal info in 50 years.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

that's crazy. i can't believe the police didn't do more about it. every one talks about being careful not to get scammed and to report it if you thing you are. so you did and they didn't do anything. that's why these people are getting away with it. glad you were able to prevent your father form getting scammed.

fgrngtllt said...

people are so effing cruel!!your father is sooo lucky to hve you and your sister looking out for him and to think there are some oldies out there all alone wit no1 to watch their backs...so sad

glad it all worked out in the end tho:)

Goose said...

I feel bad for your dad now that he knows he almost got scammed. It's so good you were there to stop it!! It makes me sad to know there are plenty of old people out there that are getting scammed.

Vodka Logic said...

People who use people like that should serve life in prison. Unconionable.
xx

New England Girl said...

Oh my gosh!!! This is such horrible news... but I'm so so glad your father mentioned it to your sister beforehand and you two were able to step in a diffuse the situation. I can only imagine the terrible things that could have happened to your Dad. What scumbags are out there, really... it makes me sick to my stomach. Ugh. I'm glad your Dad is armed with more information now, and good on him for changing accounts. He'll feel so much safer and secure.

Bamboo said...

Wow very scary! I feel bad for him and hope he learned to be really mindful of future events like these. I'm paranoid about this stuff myself. Hate with people come to the door and call. You just never know anymore.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I am so glad you caught that before it got out of hand!

Stephanie said...

This breaks my heart. Why would someone want to do that. I am glad that you stopped the scumbags from taking advantage of your dad.

a corgi said...

so glad you and your sister were able to prevent your dad from sending money and in turn potentially being financially ruined; it is such a sad statement that there are ruthless people out there that would prey upon elderly people in this way

betty

otin said...

I think that basically, as a rule of thumb, you must live life with the philosophy that no one will ever give you anything for free!

Jules said...

People like that piss me off! They take advantage of the most vulnerable!!! Thank GOD you guys were there to help!

Artistic Logic said...

that is so sad =(

this kind of stuff makes me sick, the nerve of people taking advantage of the elderly!

rxBambi said...

Thank God you and your sister are there for him. You ladies are like Super Girls...

Herding Cats said...

Wow. People are ridiculous...and have NERVE! I feel so pissed off that some people feel they can take advantage of others.

My Own Two Feet said...

The police won't do anything, but check out the USPS Inspection Service, they actually investigate things JUST like this.

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/

Matty said...

This is a common scam. It's going on all around the country. In the form of bogus emails, mailings, phone calls, Craigslist stalkers and so on. While all segments of society can and have been hit, the elderly are the prime targets because of their trusting nature. They were raised in an era when a man's word was his handshake. And scam artists take advantage of their good nature.

Fortunately, he had good family help/

Dan said...

There seem to be new scammers every week. Some of the scams are not obvious either.

It's reached the point where no one believes anything (for good reason) any more.

Unknown Mami said...

That makes me so angry!

Constructive Attitude said...

wow. ppl will do ANYTHING to rip others off. UGH!

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Actual Scale said...

I'm so glad you found out in time & that Spdiey took your advice.
Scammers suck.

On a lighter note, I've got an award for you on today's post. :)

Because you can never have too many, right?
lol

Have a great week!
Lynn

Captain Dumbass said...

We should save lab rats and use those people for medical experimentation. Save the rats!

Titania said...

that is quite a story.... amazing what some people can do to steal from others. I am glad you guys found out before anything serious happened