Scams – Not Only E-Mail Variety

This elderly parent thing has really turned things upside down. Not only are my brother and I having to parent our father, but my brother who is seven and a half years younger than I, is having to take the lead. The pyramid is balancing on the pinnacle, rather than the base.

It was only a few months ago that I learned from my phone conversation with my father that he was being scammed by phone. He slipped one day, by telling me he was coming into a large amount of money, planned to pay off all of his debts, refurbish the house, and install new wall-to-wall carpeting. I believe I have addressed this issue here before, but it was not until now that I found out the severity of the situation. This had been going on for months. Hence, the checks we have been sending him to help pay his gas and electric bills, chip away at his credit card debt, has been going to Jamaica. We do not know anyone in Jamaica and we especially do not want to support anyone in Jamaica at this point in time. Our intent was to aid my father, not strangers with a funny accent.

My brother shared that he thought he had nipped this whole thing in the bud, but months later discovered my father was sneaking behind his back like an untrustworthy teenager and continuing to share his bank details. This forced the child brigade to shut down dad’s checking account and reopen it with new account numbers, which I am not even sure he shared with my father. I would not blame him if he did not. He even bought an answering machine so my father would not have to answer the phone when the scammers called. He could monitor his calls. When I called and spoke to the machine, he told me it was because he could not lock his knee in time to stand steady to grab the phone. The machine did not stop the overseas communications though. Once he knew who was calling, he still picked up the phone, whether it was a familiar voice or a Caribbean accent.

Sending money may have been a way to appease my guilt over not being there to assist, but in this day and age, who can afford to rip up a life that has been deeply rooted, watered, and nurtured. This is not the life plan I had mapped out, but circumstances created something that exceeded my expectations and I am grateful. If sending a check is my only way to assist, then at least I am thankful we are able to do it. It seems to me though, the Jamaicans should care for their own and leave my father out of this.

My brother checked into reporting it to the NJ Attorney General or local authorities. No one seems to have any authority considering the country. They will willing take the report, but there are no teeth to take a bite out of the crime.