The dark side of the ElderTech force

porsche-911-carrera-convertible-red

For the most part, it’s exciting that older folks are adopting new technologies.  But along with all the fun stuff, there has to be a measure – a good, large measure – of caution.  We all know there are scumbags out there who troll the Internet for people’s personal information to make a dishonest buck.

I can’t tell you how often AGMA has been contacted by a Nigerian prince or a long lost, distant “relative” offering to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams.  Sweet!  Maybe I can buy that Porsche I’ve always wanted.

TANSTAAFL.

And sometimes the tolls get help from our alma maters, Target, Home Depot and the U.S. Government .  Yes, we’ve had our personal data compromised (code word for stolen) from all four of them.  Lucky us.  Names, birth dates, social security numbers – the whole shebang.  I’m just waiting to find out that I’ve bought that cute little red Porsche 911 convertible in Las Vegas or my 401K has been reinvested.  With a Nigerian prince.

The worst of the worst – the bottom dwellers in the criminal gene pool – prey on the truly elderly who might not be in total possession of their ability to reason and reflect. Like my mother-in-law.

My 81 year old MIL thinks she is doing just fine.  A two week trip to Ireland in 2013 with her convinced me she really isn’t.  I went as a traveling companion, not by choice, but to help her keep her safe and “navigate” a horrible trip that her travel agent put together for her that involved all bus and train travel.  Huh?  In the end, I was glad I went – sort of – because there was no way she could have navigated it all safely by herself.

Her solo trip to Rome this past February when she stayed in her hotel for the ENTIRE week is proof of the pudding.  She said she didn’t go out because it rained all week.  No Coliseum, no Sistine Chapel, no Spanish Steps, no Roman Forum.  You can read my post from February leading up to that a little adventure.  My head is still hurting.

She’s in the beginning stages of dementia.  But she thinks she is doing just fine.  Just. Fine.

This is not a good place to be especially since Facebook is her BFF.  Despite repeated warnings from us not to friend people she doesn’t know, she has many “friends” who aren’t real people.  The “men” – all claiming to be in their 50‘s and 60‘s – flirt with her.  She’s a lonely widow who thinks she’s still one hot mama, so she flirts back.  Seriously.  They ask for money.  And God know what else.

Last fall she sent $8000 to one of her “friends”, a “millionaire” who needed a bridge loan to buy an oil well drill bit until his bank can though with financing.  My MIL lives on a fixed income.  She’s still waiting for her dividend check.

OMG… Shoot me now!

She posts information and pictures that would allow the scumbags to find her house if they wanted to track her down.  She lives alone.  We’re pretty worried about her especially since she lives 1700 miles away.

When, once again, my hub gave her the “not everybody on Facebook is what they appear to be so don’t friend anybody you don’t know” talks, and offered to help her de-friend the scumbags, she threatened to de-friend us!  She said we were interfering with the “joy of her Facebook experience.”  I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up!

And, unfortunately, there’s is absolutely nothing we can do about any of it until she goes broke or gets in an accident or worse.  We’re really praying it’s not the worse.

So enjoy technology, and help your peers and parents enjoy all it has to offer.  But, just like we warn our little ones when they are young, teach them to be very wary of strangers.  And show them how to set their security settings tighter than one of Kim Kardashian’s pre-pregnancy dresses.

I sure hope my AGMA-alter enjoys driving my Porsche in the Nevada desert.  I bet it’s a blast!

I can almost feel the wind blowing in my hair.

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31 thoughts on “The dark side of the ElderTech force

    • How about a McClaren? I saw one of those at a restaurant that we took my husband to for Father’s Day and I nearly fell over when my son told me how much they cost. And the guy who go out of it was sort of chubby and like late 30’s and his date/partner was just a normal looking lady (actually looked a bit discheveled – like me!) Major let down…

      I wonder if the Prince would buy me a McClaren?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Don’t even get me started.. The elderly–and I’m talking 80 and over are treated horribly in this country–our government should be taking better care, medically and other, of our safe citizens. They fall for these bullshit scams because many of them have nobody… My blood is starting to boil–thank you for an enlightened post. People really need to read this!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s pretty awful. I might do one more post on this because folks just don’t understand, even if an elderly person does have a family who cares, if they are stubborn or too proud to admit there’s an issue or just in total denial (like my MIL) there is nothing anybody can do do protect them. In order for family to get involved, the elderly person must be in agreement. They also have to cooperate to share critical information like bank accounts, wills and living wills, lists of meds and doctors, etc. If they don’t (like my MIL), in order for the courts to step in to declare them incompetent and appoint a court appointed guardian, they have to do so something so harmful to themselves (like be scammed out of all their $$ or drive their car into somebody else’s living room) that, at that point, it’s like the cart following the horse. It’s too late.

      I get the need to protect the elderly from predatory family members – there are definitely low-life family who are as bad as the scumbag scammers. But there has to be some middle ground where the courts are allowed to step in BEFORE it’s too late…

      Thanks for your comment and for your concern for our most senior of citizens!

      Now I’m getting all hot and bothered…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear God. I can’t believe you were hacked that many times. So sorry. As for the gullibility of your MIL..you are right to be worried. That can’t end well. Somebody needs to “break” her Facebook. It is so wrong the way we treat seniors in this country…they are prey for so much greed and evil. Ugh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the big one was the last hack where the bad guys stole the Federal Employees data. My hub is part of the group of Feds that are required to file a DETAILED financial statement yearly so ALL of our financial data was compromised (account numbers and all!.) Delightful!

      Once, my MIL gave my husband a sign-on for something but it was actually her FB sign on! As soon she told him that it was her FB sign on and not the one he needed, he promptly forgot it. You don’t know how many times I’ve wished I had that sign-on…

      And you are right – it’s not going to end well with her. She hasn’t talk to my husband or myself since March when he tried the “tough love” approach. We figure the next phone call will be when the *hit hits the fan! 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Do you mean to tell me that all that money I have agreed to receive is not really coming? Damn! I have thought of so many ways to spend it. It is hard to believe that people really do fall for those promises, but it must work, because the scams seem to be multiplying. Sorry about your MIL. Have you and your husband thought about the tough love approach? It may hurt, but it may avoid a bigger hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I got an email the other day that promised me 6,000,000 Euros! How about that? 🙂

      Ah – the tough love approach. Yeah – my hub did that in March with her when he was out visiting her. It just made her very angry and fed into her paranoia that we were trying to get “all her money” (which is a hoot since she basically doesn’t have any…) and that we would “pull the plug” on her at the first opportunity. We haven’t hear from her since March. Yeah – so tough love didn’t work out so well…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Been there, done that and literally there is nothing legally we can do until she’s been scammed out of so much $$ that she’s unable to provide for her basic needs financially or does something really big like drives her car through a mall or her house. So basically, we can’t intervene without her permission until it’s too late. We have the option of calling Adult Protective Services if we feel she is endangering herself, but since she’s 1700 miles away and hasn’t talked to us since March, it’s difficult. There really is no good answer to the situation since she refuses to cooperate. Sigh…

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  4. Thank you for this post, AGMA. It’s very timely because just last week I read about some older women who gave upwards of $50,000 each to men who had “courted” them online. And one of them said she knew better but she was lonely, so one of these jerkwads took advantage of that. My mother was a technophobe (even the TV remote scared her) so I didn’t have to deal with that, but she would talk to anybody who phoned her or came to her door. *sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

    • I echo your *sigh* I know she’s incredibly lonely, but her paranoia has only increased her isolation. She accuses everybody who comes into her house of stealing from her if she can’t remember where she set something down. Yeah – Jane just knew she tucked that Don Williams TAPE (not even a CD) in that drawer and as soon as she left the room, Jane made a bee line for it… Give me a break!

      I guess it’s easier to say somebody stole it that to have to admit you don’t remember where you put something. Thank goodness I have no problems admitting that! 🙂 But calling your friend’s thefts is NOT the way to elicit repeat visits so loneliness get’s worse and you look to “virtual friends” for comfort… It’s a vicious circle!

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  5. Could you set up with the bank, under the guise of handling her bills to lighten her load and set with the bank some guidelines? Could you break her computer with a “virus” by unplugging it? Encourage her to meet real people at the senior center? She needs to be connecting with real people!! Your husband, I think is in denial about her potential danger!! Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Joyful, you are so sweet to suggest all that, but you have no idea how incredibly suborn and in denial and paranoid she is. We have no idea where she banks (although she says she has multiple accounts.) My hub had been executor in her will and has asked her multiple times over 4 or 5 years for her to get her financial stuff together. This last time she told him it was none of his business. He asked to be removed as executor. But I think by the time she passes, there will be nothing but debts in her estate. 😦

      And her computer is behind a locked bedroom door. Because everybody who comes into her house “steals” from her, she got locks for all her bedroom doors and keeps them locked all the time. Cray, cray.

      She would NEVER go to a senior center because she doesn’t think she’s a senior and she get’s angry at them for just “sitting around”. She literally believes that she is not going to die. It’s weird. These are conversations we’ve had with her for years…

      Oh – we are totally aware of the dangers, but the way our legal system work in regards to the elderly is that we can do nothing without her permission. Nothing until she loses so much money that she can’t provide for herself or does something horrific like drive her car into a crowd of people. There is no protection for the uncooperative elderly until it’s too late, which to me, is a crime…

      Thanks though for caring about her and trying to keep her safe!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry to hear all of this. My wealthy Aunt had a debilitating auto accident. My brother had to go in and straighten out her finances and investments. Turns out she had the dementia that her brother and my father had. My mother had Alzheimer’s. I do know if a doctor could prove her incompetent you could go from there. Sounds like with the paranoia she is not functioning on a good level. If your husband resigns she could give that position to someone who could really take advantage of her.
        Oh, well. I guess this is something you two have already researched extensively. So sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for your kind thoughts! My step-mother had Alzheimers in the 90’s (she passed in 2001) and lived with us for a time until we got her settled in an Alzehimer’s unit at a local nursing home. But she was this lovely gracious southern woman who loved and trusted us, so we were able to help her stay safe and financially sound. My husband’s mom has always been a firecracker and suspicious of people’s motives. Her dementia is just exacerbating it and making her really nasty. Just so sad…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Can you talk her into seeing a neurologist? If you talk to her regular doctor about what’s happening, they might refer you to one (they can’t talk to you about her problems, but you can talk to them). There is so much that neurologists can do to help dementia patients now. It may even help with her aggressive response to your advice – that could be a symptom of the dementia.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for your suggestions. What you suggest is very practical and logical, but she has lost her ability to reflect and reason. We are no longer dealing with somebody who sees the world as a “normal” person. We have no idea who her doctor is (none of our business she says). And in March, my hub suggested she see a neurologist because of some of the “confusion” she’s been experiencing. She went ballistic and said there was absolutely nothing wrong with her other than a little bit of age related memory issues. All normal for a woman her age. Right…

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      • I’m so sorry to hear that. Those definitely sound like dementia symptoms (I’ve seen families trick people into going to a neurologist because they insisted they were fine). If she’s reached the point where she’s that badly off, it may be time to consider power of attorney options. Sad to say, it will be necessary at some point, and at least, you’ll be prepared when she gets there. Best of luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks so much! Something bad IS going to happen with her – there is no question about it. Happy thought right? I just pray it’s not something that physically harms an innocent person or her. I’m praying for something like her driving through a storefront when nobody is there and her not getting injured, but that she starts talking crazy to the police so that they force her to get a psychological evaluation. So I’m hoping for the best of the worst!

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  8. This newest twist with your MIL and the internet just chilled me to the bone. I now realize that my previous experience with trying to treat and survive IDS (In-law dementia syndrome) could have been even more deadly.

    I sure do wish I had an answer or even a good idea to share with you on this really risky behavior you MIL is engaging in with FaceBook. Somebody needs to pull that FB plug. I’m sure that she has checked off all the boxes releasing FB from any liability for her being victimized. But you haven’t. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh JoHanna… The one thing I was worried about in my little FB hiatus was that I wouldn’t be able to check on her everyday. Since she and my husband “fell out” last March, they have not been in communication. Seeing her crazy FB posts at least assured me she is still okay (in some way, shape or form) She made a comment on my new profile picture last night (all in capital letters – yikes) so I know she’s still alive in kicking. 🙂

      But I’m kind of thinking I need to put my foot down with my husband and insist he pull up his big boy pants and give in and call her. The ego in that family is so overblown – nobody is willing to give in. I think for her safety, he needs to give in an call her. We’ll see how successful I am…

      It really is scary how easy prey a lonely senior is for these vile predators. I wonder what it will take for there to be some action taken to protect them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I genuinely believe this is a “Come To Jesus Meetin” moment for your husband. It’s a truism from my years in the south. When someone calls you out, you get dressed down, or otherwise chewed out until you could be in hellfire itself. When you pick yourself up and leave that “meetin” you have no other thought but to make it right.

        Your Mother In Law is in an extremely dangerous situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree with you! But you have no idea how dysfunctional their family situation was and is, and how it’s affected my husband… It’s a battle he’s been waging inside of himself for years. I’ve encouraged him to get some trauma therapy, but so far, no go. So he is employing the same MO coping strategy with his mom that he has in our marriage for the last 38 years – just ignore a problem and hope that it eventually goes away. But it won’t in this case. 😦 Send good thoughts and prayer our way JoHanna! And thanks so much for your concern!

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