Today, I had a lady from an outside bank call to verify funds. She was concerned that something suspicious was going on. She told me that her client was recently widowed and lonely and seeking companionship. I silently thought to myself… oh no… more TMI, let’s just say we’d been close to a full moon and I’d had a few interesting ones yesterday… The lady told me that since her client’s husband had died, the client was doing irrational things and not watching out for herself.
A phone call to my client quickly confirmed fraud. In this case both of our clients were victims.
Later, I thought about the widow. I know what it feels like to be lonely and alone and how much you wish to have that partnership back and to feel loved again. Luckily, I have the wits about me to realize there are many people out there who don’t have your best interests in mind. I see how a widow, especially, an older widow could easily fall victim to a scam especially when concerned about money or lonely and yearning for affection.
Bottom line… if it sounds too good to be true it probably is… and the advice extends to all…
- beware of a stranger who offers to “wire money,”
- you have not won a foreign lottery,
- anybody who gives you more money and says just to wire the overpayment back,
- few people get rich working from home– especially shipping boxes, and the list goes on and on.
- As far as work around the house like paving driveways, painting, etc… make sure you are dealing with somebody reputable (Better Business Bureau and online reviews are a good place to start, personal references from friends are great!)
- Be cautious letting any strangers in your house- they could be looking to steal medication, jewelry, or money.
- Remember that there are people who prey on those who have recently lost spouses, a quick check of a newspaper shows would be criminals who has recently lost loved ones. A perpetrator could then use this information for outright theft or to create a scam. It is even advisable to have a good friend or relative stay in the spouse’s home during the funeral- I’ve heard too many stories of break ins that occurred DURING the funeral.
Grief sometimes clouds vision and allows a con to take advantage of somebody who normally would think much more clearly.
There are also the grey areas where no fraud is committed, but people use a widow/widowers vulnerability to extend their profits. For example- an insurance company selling unnecessary coverage or a mechanic billing extra or convincing a person to make a repair that wasn’t necessary. Finding good business people that you can trust for services you need is priceless! They are out there, sometimes it’s just a little hard to find them!
I don’t know that the associate from the other bank needed to share the information that she did, but I’m glad that the widow has somebody looking out for her best interests and protecting her.