Why Do Some People Feel The Need To Scam Little, Old Ladies?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Sad GrandmotherWhile watching the evening news last night, I listened to a report about a local, elderly woman who was scammed.  Big time.  Seriously scammed to the tune of a $15,000-kind-of-scam.  And, while I never like to hear about anyone getting scammed – I especially dislike hearing about it when the target is an 89-year-old woman.

Details of the story are a bit sketchy.  The elderly woman claims she was confused and thought the perpetrator 'seemed like a real nice person.'  Essentially, a younger female  walked up to the victim in a retail parking lot, told the victim some crazy story – then somehow convinced the victim to drive to the bank and withdraw the cash.  Of course, after handing the money over, the con artist took off.

To the female swindler who felt compelled to take advantage of an innocent and defenseless old woman
a woman who was minding her own business, not bothering anyone, and just basically going about her daily errands:  You should be ashamed of yourself!  Come on now this could be your own grandmother for pete's sake!  How could anyone in good conscience do this?  Hey, I have an idea!  Take the money back to the bank and drop it in the night depository.  Otherwise, I have my fingers crossed that someone will identify you regardless of the lame disguise you were shown wearing on the bank security camera tape while you ripped this woman off.

When I'm 89-years-old and I need help, will someone please blog about it?  I don't know why this story bothers me so much.  I'm sure this sort of thing happens all day, every day, to people of all ages.  Maybe it's because I have an elderly mother.  Maybe it's because I loved my grandmother so much.  Maybe it's because I'm a kind and compassionate person.  I'm not sure.  One thing I am sure about:  When a crime involves preying on a frail and harmless 89-year-old woman – well, let's just say I hope they catch this pathetic, heartless, and conniving predator.  I'll be watching the news.

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carie shapiro

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John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

When my Dad was in the middle stages of his Alzheimer's he was scammed.  I mean scammed big time!  There was nothing we could do about it but let the anger go and learned the hard way to watch his every move and never leave him alone.  Talk about being ticked .... I won't even go there.  This type of thing really bugs me!

Aug 23, 2012 12:55 AM #1
Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent
REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results!

Carie, unfortunately this sort of things happens a lot... they have many different scams they use on senior citizens.. its so cruel to target these defenseless people, many of hwom depend on their governmenet pensions to survive. We can only hope that the perpetrator are caught and convicted with a jail sentence.

Aug 23, 2012 12:56 AM #2
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Carie, I was sitting in a parking lot one day eating my lunch between appointments and a man knocked on my window. He said he was an hour away from home and his daughter needed medicine. He had no money and no credit card. He asked if I would give him $50 for her medicine. I asked if he had a debit card? Yes. I told him he could use that or go to the bank around the corner for cash.

I know it sounds awful but if I had forgotten my purse at home and needed to pick up medicine for my sick child, I would turn around and get my purse--not knock on someone's window in a parking lot and ask for cash.

Aug 23, 2012 01:32 AM #3
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Carie, Older people are so trusting and want to believe the best in people. My elderly father was scammed several times and he was a college-educated, intelligent man. He just couldn't believe someone would lie to him.

Aug 23, 2012 02:04 AM #4
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

John:  I'm sorry to hear this story about your Dad.  I would feel much the same way you do.  As our parents start getting older we just have to make sure we keep an eye on them all the time.  And, that's not always easy, right?

Gloria:  Yes, it is extremely cruel.  And even though it happens all the time, I still don't get it.  I hope they catch the perpetrator, too!

Tammie:  I've been approached many times by people claiming all sorts of things.  Nowadays, it's difficult to know who really needs our help -- or who is dangerous or pulling our leg -- especially in the middle of a parking lot.  So therefore, we just end up helping no one.  And, I'm like you ... I would go back and retrieve my purse too.

Debbie:  I'm so sorry to hear this story about your Dad too.  Older people are trusting.  Young people are trusting.  Many of us want to be more trusting.  However, in this day and age, it seems we have to be more cautious and suspicious.  Too bad.

Aug 23, 2012 07:23 AM #5
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Unfortunately there are too many people out there that will take advantage of the elderly and think nothing of it.  I just hope karma comes around to pay them back. 

Aug 23, 2012 09:44 AM #6
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

A lot of seniors are naturally trusting of others and scammers take advantage of that.  Fortunately, there are special laws against taking advantage of the elderly so hopefully they get caught and prosecuted fully.


Aug 23, 2012 10:21 AM #7
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Carie:  I wouldn't say I was the victim of an attempted scam, but about a year ago I did have a "gentleman" try to intimidate the heck out of me... innocent, helpless lil ol' me.  I reached into my shopping cart, and grabbed a bag, started twirling it, and told him if he didn't leave me alone, I was going to hit him with a frozen chicken.

He stopped.  LOL.

Aug 23, 2012 11:17 AM #8
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Carie, there are so many difficult things about getting old and being prey to scammers is just another one.  There are predators everywhere and unfortunately, they are very creative but we just have to hope that they will get their just desserts.

Aug 23, 2012 11:53 AM #9
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

It is very unfortunate Carie, my father in law has been scammed twice in the month and a half since my mother in law died.  My mother in law took care of things so well that he just doesnt know how to deal with so many things anymore and must rely on his kids to handle the finances now.

Aug 23, 2012 11:57 AM #10
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I get cold chills sometimes thinking of what will become of me as an elderly woman. I am way too trusting now.

Aug 23, 2012 12:48 PM #11
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Jim:  Yes, I want to believe in karma here too!

Bryan:  I hope they get caught too.  Sadly, many of these criminals never do get caught, and they just move on to other victims.

Karen Anne:  Your comment made me laugh ... although it's a troubling topic, I can just see you swinging that frozen chicken!  Hey, whatever works ... right? :)

Joanna:  You're right ... just one more thing to worry about when we get older.  I hope the criminals get their just desserts, too!

Bob:  It's so disturbing to hear stories like this.  I feel so badly for your father-in-law ... glad to hear his kids will be watching out for him and his finances now.

Chris Ann:  Right?  I know what you mean.  And, the scams seem to be getting more clever and tricky ... scary!

Aug 25, 2012 02:38 AM #12
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Valerie:  It is sad ... and my heart breaks every time I hear one of these stories.

Aug 26, 2012 01:54 AM #14
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