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    Parent Conundrum

    My mother isn't completely of sound mind any longer. The doctor has given her a brain scan last summer and found white matter disease. It calcified the capillaries that feed the tissue that connects the major portions of our brains. It slows down processing time, affects mood, balance, and memory just to get started. She is no longer allowed to drive. With the COVID-19 shelter in place orders, she's not going anywhere any way. She can randomly remember how to use her computer and surfs the net, does Facebook, etc.
    We have been checking her outgoing mail, as she has been writing donation checks to the ASPCA, and several other national organizations, but also some that are complete scammers. I send the valid ones. The scammers I record the check info, and use it to start our woodstove. My step-dad and I have talked about it. He'd prefer I burn all of them, but it makes her happy to think she's helping kittens, and the Habitat for Humanity people.
    Now we are at the point of the current problem.
    She has written a check for the equivalent of one, possibly 2, of their mortgage payments to someone (an individual, not a nonprofit) she "has been talking to on the computer". I do not know this person. They live out of state, in a place I know Mom has never been. We don't even know them through mutual friends, etc.
    Mom tried to tell me she was sending this person some information, but she sounded an awful lot like my elementary schoolers when they are telling me a lie. I questioned her more about it and it got even more suspicious. She finally made up some story about wanting to try some new medical thing to help with the aches and inflammation in her joints, when I suggested we just open the envelope to see what information she was sending. She was pretty agitated at that thought.
    I let it go, but I obviously opened the letter and did not mail it.
    I don't know if this woman is intentionally scamming my mom, or if Mom felt sorry for her and offered to help her, like the poor puppies & kitties in the ASPCA commercials. I can not allow her to send that much $, as that will empty her bank account.

    Anybody have any brilliant ideas on how to handle this?
    My step-dad is going to loose his mind over this if he finds out. I'd like for her to be able to keep her bank account, but not if this is going to be the result.

    Thanks for space to air this and any advice y'all have,
    Hugs, Cathy
    Be who you are and say what you feel
    because those who mind don't matter,
    and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

    http://www.toggpine.wordpress.com

    #2
    power of attorney springs to mind, specially when can easily be scammed out of the whole amount in bank account, would cancel the check book side of the account, she can still write checks but they will bounce if sent, just keep looking and sort as you see fit, i.e with poa can make payments from her account on her behalf, for her safety.
    sorry going through this
    Last edited by 201 Treadler; April 11, 2020, 04:28 AM.

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      #3
      It does sound as though you mom is
      being scammed. I think your step dad should cancel the bank account.
      Open a new account with his name and your name.
      Opening a new account will protect the money they have.
      She doesn’t need to know about the new account. Continue tossing out the checks from the old account.
      Eventually she will run out of the
      checks for the cancelled account.

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with Treadler, it is time for power of attorney or for someone else to write the checks. I took over check writing duties for my Mom (has Alzheimer's) following a snafu with her homeowner's insurance. Mom, who used to be so very meticulous, noted in her check register that she had written them a check. Which they claimed they never received. I went to put a stop payment on the check, and discovered it had been written to someone else entirely (legitimate, fortunately). It's not an easy conversation, but it won't be as difficult as you think.

        Comment


          #5
          Definitely get the power of attorney enforced if she has one. I agree with closing the bank account but let her write checks, but destroy them. I would advise the bank to stop payment on any checks previously written, and report scammers to police.

          Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

          Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

          Comment


            #6
            all good advice. Perhaps the bank account could require two signatures...your dad & you as well as hers. What if she sneaks out and mails one of these...oh dear...Closing the account is probably the sane and easiest thing to do.
            Walk in peace with the Lord by your side.
            Terry

            Comment


              #7
              Oh bless her heart! In her mind she is helping people. I think the power of attorney is a wonderful idea. I also think you should be as grammaterry said on her bank account. I put my daughter on my bank accounts after my husband died. ( mine doesn't require us both to sign). I was afraid I would become sick and she would need the money for my expenses, like health care , power bill ect. Maybe you could suggest this to her but require both signatures. I also would speak to her doctor I am not sure what proof you would need to handle her affairs.











              Comment


                #8
                Maybe parental controls on the computer? These scammers are pretty clever at duping folks. Closing the account will work and she can still write the checks. Make sure the bank knows what is happening so she doesn't get in trouble writing bad checks. Is your step dad having issues as well? I will pray that your situation will resolve in a peaceful way. You are a good daughter intervening on your parents behalf.
                No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
                Aesop

                Comment


                  #9
                  You've already been given so much good advice. I just want to say, it's not an easy path you're going to travel and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
                  Katrina
                  “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Get power of attorney. Close that account. Call the 253 798 4722 and ask to have a deputy call you. (that # will get you straight thru to a person) Explain to him/her what has transpired. If the scammer is doing it to one person, I guarantee they are doing it to several....that is a crime.
                    pat.

                    No rain....no rainbows!


                    sigpic

                    If you can't be nice.....BE QUIET!

                    Comment


                    • toggpine
                      toggpine commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Can our county sheriff do anything if the person lives out of state?

                    • Momofmonsters5
                      Momofmonsters5 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      If they are out of state, it would be federal mail fraud. If you scam someone and use the post office to do it. It's a big offence. Just saying.

                    #11
                    I can't think of much more to add. You probably should get a lawyer involved to protect whatever assets they have. Definitely get the POA in place ASAP for estate & money management things, but also have a Medical Durable Power of Attorney for health care decisions. It sounds like she is not capable of making those decisions either. I'm wondering if the computer should be taken away, too. The scammers are everywhere, especially during this pandemic and with tax refunds & the other checks expected from the govt. Sorry you're going through this. Maybe a social worker would help your step-dad cope.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      You have lots of good advice here. I definitely think you should inform your stepdad since it is likely her ck account is jointly held by him. Also, if she has a Paypal acct close that so nobody hacks her. If she has major credit cards like Visa, etc think about that too. It is probably a joint acct with stepdad so he may need to have it open, but consider taking her card away and giving it to him for safekeeping, that way she won't be tempted to give the # out to any scammers who could really empty her bank acct fast. Or before taking any action contact simeone at her bank and get their advice. They would probably love to help you safeguard her money and would know how best to handle it. Good luck.

                      Comment


                      • toggpine
                        toggpine commented
                        Editing a comment
                        They have a joint account for household bills, but she also has a personal account. She doesn't write her "donation" checks from the joint account because Dad watches that one with the online banking feature.
                        I think her card is currently frozen. She had a charge flagged by the bank a week or so ago by AdvancedKETONow that she never made. She didn't know what keto dieting even was. She was supposed to go into the branch to get a new card issued, but a) she doesn't drive & b) all of the bank lobbies are closed until 5/4 at least.

                      #13
                      Cathy, if they can’t they can tell you what to do.
                      pat.

                      No rain....no rainbows!


                      sigpic

                      If you can't be nice.....BE QUIET!

                      Comment


                        #14
                        you must remove the check book and maybe car keys if she can drive. this is serious. get her interested in some hand projects, making beds or toys for shelter cats and dogs, etc. Anything you can think of. please be brave ((()))

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Thank you all for all of the advice so far. I have some calls to make on Monday.
                          I will confront Mom on this while Dad is out having his dialysis. Mom is more likely to tell me the truth if he's not home to jump on her case about her spending.
                          They bicker and snipe at each other constantly, and have for years. If they thought they could manage to live without each other, they probably would have gotten a divorce by now.

                          Dad will be told, but not at the same time. I can keep him from loosing it, but I need to address the "why it happened" first. I think this will morph into a bigger family meeting lining out the power of attorney situation, DNRs, etc. are to be dealt with for both of the parents. Historically, my step-siblings are not the ones to deal with these things, but they need to be in on the planning in case I'm not able to do it for some reason.

                          With a bit of Googling, I think I have a phone number for the person in question. I obviously have an address, and it's a street address that has a Google map image for it. I also have information on her children and other family that is associated with her.
                          My hope is Mom will share the emails/threads and I can see if it's truely a scam or if it was merely a case of her over-helping. Mom has a history of wanting to help people who find themselves in tough places. Never to this degree, and it has been people we know on some level. I would hate to send the police to this woman's house if she doesn't deserve it. On the other hand, if she or her children are scamming people, then Lord help them. I'll turn all of the evidence I have over to whatever authorities it takes to stop them.
                          Thank you again for all of your help and support while I navigate the uncharted waters of aging parents with underlying medical problems.
                          Be who you are and say what you feel
                          because those who mind don't matter,
                          and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

                          http://www.toggpine.wordpress.com

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