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12:00 PM on 06/26/2012
Does anyone in this over-50 section recognize how this story is framed in ageist terms? This is a case of people being conned. Young people join cults, get scammed, and conned every day and so do the elderly. The author tells the facts of this story, and then inserts other facts about cognitive decline etc. that have no necessary correlation to the events, but makes it seems so. And then leads us to the obvious conclusion that older people are gullible, incompetent, and must have others "watch over" their affairs. I'm surprised by the tone of the comments that nobody noticed this. Perhaps we should just take Mrs. Parker at her word and conclude that she and her husband were stupid and gullible. Or should we not do that, because she is old, and cannot possibly have an accurate understanding of anything?
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
Lsharp03
FACTS. A Low Effort Thinker's kryptonite.
02:01 PM on 06/26/2012
This story is about the growing epidemic of older, easily swayed people being taken advantage of.

Yes, it can happen to people of ALL ages, but this story is focused on a certain demographic.
04:40 PM on 06/26/2012
And within your statement there seems to be an assumption that being easily swayed has something to do with being older. That is part of our cultural assumption about the elderly---that they become like trusting children, hence this article about this demographic. Substitute "female" (or any other group) for "older" in that sentence and see how it sounds.
11:08 AM on 06/26/2012
An old lady that was a friend of the family was conned out of perhaps thousands of dollars till my mother stepped in. The people were neighbors of this old lady. We never really did find out how much she was conned out of but they got enough to open up a bar. Turns out the lady had Alzheimers. My mother took care of her affairs and her last few years she was taken care of. Point is some of those con people might be the friendly neighbor next door.
11:05 AM on 06/26/2012
Unfortunately, ego is the ally of scammers. While the kids' suspicion mounts, the parents see it as an insult to their intelligence. Kids pointing out parents' gullibility only hardens their resolve to continue the scam. The elderly are doubly susceptible because of this insecurity. No one wants to admit to this kind of vulnerability, least of all people who feel they are being assailed by their own children, who by showing concern are actually exacerbating the defensiveness that leads the parents to throw good money after bad. It's a powerful motivator that scammers exploit.
03:15 PM on 06/26/2012
This is true. When my sisters and I tried to prevent my mother from investing in various portfolios offered by her bank, she angrily insisted that the bank manager "guiding" her was her "friend," was "honest" and "only looking out for her best interests." She refused to believe that the young man at the bank was actually looking out only for his own career advancement (he was soon promoted out of my mother's local bank, probably for his skill in advising elderly people to invest in the banks various portfolios).

As her investments declined in recent years (as most of these investments were tied to money market accounts and stocks), she had to admit that they were poor choices for someone with a finite amount of savings and assets. It was only when she lost money that she finally divested herself of these portfolios.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Autismmomx4
Autism rocks! and flaps and spins..
06:41 PM on 10/22/2012
My 40 year old brother bought into this con...except when the guy got fired he lied to me to save face.
10:57 AM on 06/26/2012
To some this is just capitalism. Wave your flag. Hey it's buyers beware out there. Actually it's pretty disgusting that people are willing to do this to vulnerable people. People that do these things belong in jail. One thing you don't do is vote people like this into office.
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brooklyncitizen
Soror quaerens lucem
12:13 PM on 06/26/2012
One thing you don't do is vote people like this into office.
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But only people like this run for office
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
P Ross
10:49 AM on 06/26/2012
Age grants experience, but not necessarily wisdom. I'm sorry for these folks but my Dad passed on a saying "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't". I've lived by this and passed them on to my Daughter and Son.
chemistrydoc
There are some things so serious you have to laugh
10:49 AM on 06/26/2012
Donna is a saint - pure and simple.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
levibatgirl
10:43 AM on 06/26/2012
My former in laws once received a call from a young male posing as my son, their grandson.
The caller said, "Grandma?" when she answered the phone and she just assumed it was him.

The caller said he was in Canada and had gotten into trouble, was in jail and needed bail money.Even though my son is in the Navy, married with two kids and living in Florida, she got so panicky that she believed the caller. Too panicky to stop and think that my son has never gotten into trouble or ever called them for money and would have no reason to be in Canada.

It was when she and her husband went to Western Union to wire the $1,500 that the people working there told them to make sure to check and make sure it wasn't a scam. They knew all about the Canadian scam. Sure enough, she called my son's father who informed her that our son was not in Canada and not in any trouble.

She was so embarrassed for falling for it. She is also an intelligent woman and normally would have known better. But she is in her eighties and loves her grand kids.
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Donns
10:32 AM on 06/26/2012
Add to this the republican desire to see old people die off (Ok not the rich ones) by denying them any medical benefits and old people are feeling more screwed all the time.
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
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10:28 AM on 06/26/2012
That amount, $2.9 billion, is dwarfed by what the banksters did in 2008. The amount the banksters stole from us is 350x larger by some estimates.

Compared to the banksters this is petty theft.
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BoshSpong
My micro-bio does not meet HP's guidelines
11:08 AM on 06/26/2012
Extremely petty at that...
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jhuffington
Am I better than you? Of course, I'm a liberal.
10:25 AM on 06/26/2012
My parents while still relatively young, late 60's, seem to be very vulnerable to these types of scams; they have gotten into few problems; nothing too serious. Since then, I've gotten power of attorney, eliminated all credit cards except a joint one with me, frozen their credit (so they can't get more), I come by everyday and get their mail (it's a locked community type of mailbox-I have the only key), I handle all of their finances, I have joint bank accounts with them, I have sent letters to the dma and put them on the do not call list, I shred all personal information for them, etc. It's time consuming, but in the end I'll do anything to protect my parents. The one difficulty I have is helping them without taking away all of their freedoms. I try to involve them in all of the decisions.
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cazsue
logic and compassion = liberal
03:10 PM on 06/26/2012
Fanned. A progressive, liberal heart, indeed! Too bad the right vilifies any protections against greed as the "nanny state".

"helping them without taking away all of their freedoms" - of course we don't want to take away freedom, some rules are necessary for a decent existence/society.

Unbridled greed is not a good value. Our government could set up protections so you don't have to work so hard to protect your parents from cons, but the right prefers that greed mongers have no limits placed on them.

Keep up the good work. Your parents produced a great child.
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jhuffington
Am I better than you? Of course, I'm a liberal.
03:17 PM on 06/26/2012
Very kind words.  Thank you.
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Spock
You are completely, absolutely, illogical
10:25 AM on 06/26/2012
My mother got scammed out of $1,400. If I hadn't stepped in she would have lost way more. I wish I had caught it earlier.
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jhuffington
Am I better than you? Of course, I'm a liberal.
10:38 AM on 06/26/2012
It's good you caught it when you did. Good job.
10:15 AM on 06/26/2012
When these people call hang up
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Captain Hindsight
Seeking the truth is my only agenda.
10:34 AM on 06/26/2012
These telemarketers are worse than used car salesman, lawyers and politicians. They can hit all the right buttons and make the elderly think they are BFFs and get them to give up all sorts of information. They should make Elderly Fraud and Identity Theft 1st class felonies with minimum 5 years in jail, fines and triple damages. Even then it will persist unless it aggressively pursued and prosecuted with the same single minded focus they put on arresting people for using and selling drugs.
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cazsue
logic and compassion = liberal
03:12 PM on 06/26/2012
The right calls protections from greedy cons a "nanny state mentality".

Small time pot user = criminal

Unbridled greed = good capitalist
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bobymac
My micro-bio is no longer empty.
10:14 AM on 06/26/2012
12 1/2 and 6 1/2 years are not enough. I'm sure some of these elderly can't pay bills for heat, or hardly eat because they have no money, and wind up dying. Isn't that murder or at least manslaughter?

A system that allows this is broken.
09:56 AM on 06/26/2012
Let's face it over educated people who never applied common sense. There is no free lunch and everything has a cost. lottery is a government designed way to win something for nothing. All the rest of get rich schemes are a fraud. How can people lose their net worth attempting to become rich. Common sense tells you to earn something one must first do something.
What a sad story of people who never applied common sense.
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jhuffington
Am I better than you? Of course, I'm a liberal.
10:19 AM on 06/26/2012
Your post is nonsense. These are older people that didn't understand what was going on.
11:05 AM on 06/26/2012
There was no nonsense there was a supplied fact that some people do not use common sense when these scammers call. Anyone with common sense will hang up on the idiots. Get real there is no free lunch the sooner the people learn that fact the better off they will be. I'm not the one with a lack of understanding about this problem.
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TYRANNASAURUS
UGH!....people taste like crap!
10:23 AM on 06/26/2012
Never applied common sense but were greedy.
11:06 AM on 06/26/2012
There you go they thought they could get something for doing nothing and they got scammed.
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speakingtruth2power
Not motivated by fear & loathing
09:47 AM on 06/26/2012
And don't expect this Congress to do anything to stop it.

They are too busy inspecting other people's private parts.