Three things that the elderly (eighty-plus) fear. These uncertainties leave the elderly open to scams.
1. Being hurt by a burglar
2. Losing millions of dollars due to an inability to collect,
3. Not being able to get to the door when Publisher Clearing house comes-a-knocking
For the past year, a senior citizen received scam- phone-calls at least three times per day. The information that she passed on to me, seemed farfetched with a possibility of dementia mixed in. At least, that was the consensus among her family members. The elderly woman relayed how her family would roll their eyes and laugh up their sleeves, when she tried to talk about the phone calls.
Her younger relatives never received those phone calls. So, how could they expect to understand the strange situation that their Great-grandmother endured each time the phone rang- A mix of intimidation and fear, add in muddled reality and a pinch of truth and there you have it, the life of the elderly. Not the safe place it should be, but one where time induced weakness leaves you open to an oddity of harassment. Seniors have a lifetime of savings, along with aging brain cells that oscillate from adult to child as the day lengthens. People out to harm your grandparents, will call in those late afternoon hours order them to listen and take what they want, usually money. Some will move into their homes. All are swindling and stealing.
As she told her story of the daily phone calls, the elderly woman shook her head and “tisked, tisked” at my suspicion. “Why,” she asked, “would they lie to me?”
Then, the phone rang. She glanced at the caller ID and held the receiver out towards me, allowing the words, ‘Privacy Manager’ to be viewed. Then she placed the phone in my hand.
I answered. “Hello”
“Hello, Hello is this Mrs.- ?” The man on the other end of the phone had a Middle Eastern accent.
“Yes.” I tried to let my voice shake a little, similar to the senior citizen who sat next to me.
The man’s voice prattled excitement across the phone lines. “Congratulations you have won five million dollars and a car! Isn’t that wonderful!”
“Yes, that is great! I never thought I would win five million dollars.” I rolled my eyes and smiled at the elderly woman.
She sat wringing her hands, worried that I was messing up her chance at five million dollars.
“Well, this is GREAT news for you. Now, YOU have to go to Wal-Mart and GET a gift card and put FOUR-HUNDRED-DOLLARS on it.” He hesitated, his variation of tone, changed from high pitch singsong to a ‘do a do as I say’ order, as if he were speaking to a child, barely allowing a break in his orders. “This is for TAXES! it is VERY important! I wouldn’t want you to get in TROUBLE for not paying TAXES.”
He hesitated allowing me to jump into the conversation, “Oh, you don’t have to worry. I can pay my own taxes.”
He sounded irritated. “NO! These TAXES need to be given to the BORDER patrol!”
“Border patrol? “ I smiled at the elderly woman, she was...