Two interesting items appeared in my Sunday paper this week. The first related to financial crimes against seniors, and how to help the oldsters who are near-and-dear to you keep from being victimized by them.
It's a pretty good article, well worth a read if you have aging parents to protect, or are yourself getting into the senior category. One interesting finding was that nearly 80% of cases involving theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation from unwary seniors is perpetrated by a family member.
I offer one caveat: The list provided here of tell-tale signs that someone may be being scammed needs to be taken with a grain of salt. One of them, for example, is that the senior may complain that a care-giving or helping relative is taking their money in one form or another. Of course that's possibly true - IF the person in question is fully in control of all his faculties.
However, in my experience it's not unusual for a senior to make such an accusation against someone who is doing nothing wrong at all. As old age turns to dementia, Alzheimer's, and other mind-bending afflictions, seniors tend to grow cantankerous, suspicious, and even paranoid. They can and will make such charges against a trusted relative -- a daughter or even a spouse -- who is in fact a careful and honest steward of the funds involved. So proceed with caution. Your loved one might be delusional, even if you have no reason to suspect so.
Another article, on the same page, deals with the arrangements that major charitable organizations make with telemarketing firms, under which the telemarketers may take 60, 80, or even 100% of the money they collect. The charities that make such deals - such as the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association, amng others - say that the percentage of their funding coming from such phone campaigns is minimal, so that they are still maintaining their vaunted claims that "75% of funds" go to helping [whatever cause].
But if so, why even conduct such campaigns, if their major effect is to turn the telemarketing firm into a major recipient of charity? Furthermore, they don't seem to worry much about the violation of trust that's involved here. I feel pretty certain that if people knew most of what they were giving would go to the telemarketer, they wouldn't give at all. I wouldn't.
The Post doesn't draw any parallel between these two articles, but as I see it, here are two sides of the same coin: Getting scammed by somebody you have good reason to believe you can trust.