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Being Mindful of Senior Scams

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Dementia family coach Faith Marshall joins Suzanne to talk about senior scams. Every family knows someone who's been taken advantage of. This segment goes into how and where scams show up. We used to worry about email links and phone calls, but now we even have to be wary of people scamming those who park in handicapped spots. 

Suzanne tells a story about her mother being scammed by someone claiming to be an encyclopedia salesman.

Faith shares a story about her parents: "Mom and dad went grocery shopping and parked in the handicap zone. Dad was five years older than mom, and not moving very fast, and she was driving. The clerks even helped them load the groceries in the car. And somebody must have been hanging out in the parking lot watching them, because they only got a block away on a side street, and they got flagged down by this little truck that was urgently pulling up next to them. And the guy got out, said that they were leaking brake fluid from the rear tire, and he went back to the rear tire, and then he came up to show my dad, who was a mechanic, that he had brake fluid on his hands. The whole thing was staged.

"And I still to this day cannot believe what dad let them do, because he could fix anything. They got mom to go with them in the car, go home to get her checkbook, she went into the bank and she withdrew $1,800 cash. They took her back to the car where dad was waiting, and promised to follow them home, and then come back. The story got to my brother, the police were called, and it was reported. They trusted them to fix these brakes that had nothing wrong with them. We did report it to the police, and my brother took control of the bank account. He would only put $300 in that checking account that was attached to that debit card. And she started to say, finally, when people would call, 'oh, that's too much, I have to ask my son for permission.'

Suzanne replied about that situation, "It's that slippery slope that we as family members have to walk, because we want to allow our loved ones their dignity and their ability to have their choices. On the other hand, there are a lot of situations that are overwhelming and they just forget. They will have a nice voice on the phone. They'll meet this nice young man that comes to the house. If it's a lonely lady, they'll appeal to that."

AARP's Fraud Watch Network Helpline is at 877-908-3360. Learn more at Faith Marshall's AFE page and at You can email Faith at or call her directly at (855) 363-2484.

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