My friend attempted to enlist her brothers to assist her speaking to their father as to the sketchy nature of his new found hobby; however, they declined, assuaging her that “Dad was just having a little fun.”
Eventually her father had to leave the country for around nine months, and had his mail forwarded to her address in order that she could take care of his bills while he was away and to open his sweepstakes mail to determine if he had won, but what was forwarded to her over those nine months amounted to at least seven large storage boxes of sweepstakes related mail.
Although frustrated with all this junk mail, she loved her father, and set herself to reviewing each sweepstakes mailing, noting some requesting a check or his credit card, or others subsequent payments as more funds were required to secure his “winnings”. Having power of attorney, my friend closed all her father’s credit card and checking accounts that were used to purchase his sweepstakes tickets and placements, contacted him in Europe and advised him which credit cards he could no longer use.
Consequently after she conveyed to him that she had calculated a loss of at least $30,000 that he would never see again, thanks to his “harmless” little sweepstakes diversion, it finally sunk-in that this might not be the most financially non-injurious activity he could participate in. My friend then proceeded to write each sweepstakes scammer her own version of “cease and desist” letters, hoping they would realize that the well was dry and there’d be nothing henceforth from her father.
It was very fortunate that my friend was trustworthy, loyal to, and loved her father, and was able to overcome her brothers’ protestations to just leave father to his fun, that she took the time to arduously review what was initially thought to be junk mail, and that she had the appropriate financial smarts and authority to act. But I would imagine there are many more stories where no one in the family was aware of what an elderly relative was involved with that they thought was harmless fun, with just the expenditure of a few dollars here or there of their “mad money”, and if family members were aware, did they have the authority, the experience, and the wherewithal to resolve it before retirement savings in their entirety were essentially stolen?
I came upon a NAPSA article that speaks to financial decisions that folks are advised to address as they near 70 that I like to share and hop you find it as enlightening and interesting as I did.