Gripe of the day

kathy_March 20, 2003

I get so tired of people trying too "rip off" the elderly. I have a very gullible aunt (with 3 watchful daughters). Well a man came to her door with a freezer on his truck and said he had to sell it that day because someone made a cancellation. He said it was a great deal and she believed him and wrote a check. He said if she wanted to cancel to call the number on the receipt. Well she tried and of course the number had been disconnected. Then her very wise daughter called the bank and cancelled the check and they waited. Didn't take long for a phone call to come to them and they made the man take everything back. The same guy has been doing this throughout this area - always with the same story.

Well Tuesday same aunt gets a phone call about a contest. She told the people what appliances she had. A few days later another daughter was sitting there when the call came in and the lady said her Mom had won $500 worth of free food and it would be delivered today. Why do I think she will need a bigger freezer? Well they will be met by a daughter who will protect her Mom. I hope there is a special place these crooks go when they die and get their just rewards. Kathy

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I hate those scams and the fact that they seem to take advantage of those more trusting souls! My inlaws have been scammed more times than I have fingers or toes because they are so trusting. They have invested in so many "multi-level" marketing schemes never to see a penny. Remember the phone calling cards that no one made money from? They did 3 different ones before they realized they were being scammed! And they sold magnets . . . you know those stupid magnets you are supposed to stick all over yourself and be "magically" healed! Never made a cent, but spent hundreds on product inventory! And the list goes on and on. They have also fallen prey to the "meat" sellers and I think we figured out they paid over $6.00 a pound and most was a poor quality hamburger! They have ended up with countless magazine subscriptions they don't want because some poor girl had to make her quota "or she'd be fired". They fall for every sob story in the book. They also refinanced their home at 14% when everyone else was getting 7% a couple years ago! My husband about blew a gasket and somehow got them out of it, I am sure with a few not so nice words to the guy who did this re-fi. It is so frustrating to us. Their sweet trusting nature is very indearing, but also very frightening! I am going to buy a "no solicitors" sign for my inlaws front door. You can get those self stick ones at places like Home Depot for less than $2.00. It might be something your Aunt needs too.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2003 at 1:11PM
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Oh my Brenda - what a nightmare! Does your state have a do not call list? My aunt is on it but this latest group called her anyway - that is why I am suspicious it is the freezer people. Told my Mom about my aunt and she said they called her but thankfully Mom is sharp with her money. My cousin sat and waited for the salespeople to show up at my aunts but they never showed. I wonder if they saw 2 cars and did not stop. Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   March 20, 2003 at 9:54PM
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If a scam artist scores once, they SELL the name, address and phone number to other scammers. Report it to your state's attorney general as a fraud. The bank knows where the request for payment came from, and you have to show a LOT of good ID to get a bank account. (it's apaper trail for the cops).

Can someone get a "financial conservatorship" for your aunt? Basically they pay the bills and manage the finances to prevent this from happening again.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2003 at 8:53AM
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Memo to all who have elderly relatives (or gullible ones, whatever the age),

Ask the guy who makes such a lovely offer to show his driver's licence and vehicle registration.

If he offers it, write down all the information, then take the paper to another room and hide it out of sight (making sure he doesn't follow) so he can't take it with him. Don't leave him alone in the original location for more than a few seconds.

Don't accept any excuses - in most jurisdictions, it costs a fairly heavy fine to be stopped while driving if one doesn't have them.

Maybe tell him before you leave the room that you're going to phone the Better Business Bureau, or the police, to ensure that there aren't complaints registered regarding that person.

Such action will likely make him suddenly remember an urgent appointment that he has - elsewhere.

At least - write down the licence number (including issuing jurisdiction) of the vehicle.

Local police department say they'd like to get such info - especially if one suspects incipient fraud.

Provincial police set up a operation some time ago that initially dealt with telephone scams, but now deals with other fraudulent issues, as well - and has extended from this area to link up with the R.C.M.P. and other police agencies nationwide.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Learn something worthwhile. Pass on a friendly act - help develop increased trust (seasoned with a dollop of shrewdness).

As a clergyperson, I used to say that if you asked Jesus for compassion - you got it. But if you tried to make a fool of him, as the religious bunch sometimes did, to hang his hide on the fence mentally, so to speak - he outshrewded you.

If we haven't trained ourselves to mental shrewdness, we must often harden out hearts to compensate (keep from getting scammed), but if we develop sharp mental skills - we can afford the luxury of a soft, caring heart.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   March 21, 2003 at 3:18PM
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Just a note on "do not call" lists...I will say it may work differently in the US. BUT.

There are several "travelling" telemarketer outfits in Canada that move from city to city. They do not buy lists, but instead make their calls right from local phone book pages. Start from Aaron Aardvarrk, and call right down to Zenith Zimmerman, dividing the pages up among employees. They work on volume...the more calls they make the better their chance of making a sale. Once their quota is done or they have exhausted their temporary lease (usually around a month at the most), off they go to a new city to start again.

I am not saying all of these are scams. Most actually do sell products like siding, lightbulbs, tickets to events, that sort of thing. That doesn't mean they don't know it is easier to sell to an elderly person who might not be assertive enough to withstand the high pressure sell. Young mothers are also an easy mark, BTW.

All the "do not call" lists in the world will not stop EVERY call from coming through.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2003 at 10:35AM
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