Tuesday, July 2, 2013

SENIORS BEWARE Tuesday with MeMe

Taking Advantage of Seniors

You read and see on television how so many seniors are victims of con artist.  I have often wondered how they could not see what was happening before they get hurt or robbed. It did not happen to me, but my neighbor.

A few reasons why she might think they were legitimate.  She is a very trusting lady and thinks the best of everyone. Just recently, the City hired tree trimmers to cut limbs away from the utility lines in our area. They all wore bright, colored vest.

Saturday, June 29, a man came to her door. He wore a colored vest. When she opened the door, he stated he was to trim a tree in her backyard that was touching a line. She never once thought he was not who he was supposed to be.  SHE should have as he was not in a company truck nor ever showed any ID.  There was another man in the car that she was not aware of.

The one in the vest was doing all the talking and had a clip board. At that time, he suggested they go to the back and check what they needed to do. After a few minutes, said he needed to discuss the situation with his boss and got on his cell phone. However, come to find out he was not talking to his boss, but the man in the car. The man in the vest got my neighbor behind a shed to look at the tree so the other fellow could go in the backdoor to her house. The one with her wanted to know if she had change for $100.  She did not.  The man in the house, on phone no doubt, told him there was clothing for a man.  At that time, he asked my neighbor where her husband was. She smartly told him he was visiting. After about ten minutes, the one inside must have informed the one outside there was nothing of value to take. He came out , but my neighbor could not see him from where she was. They told her it was too late to do the trimming and would be back on Monday.

I happened to be returning home about that time, and saw them coming from behind her house with her following.  I had no idea what was going on. We have so many vehicles and people coming and going, you just never think much about such as this. However, I did think it rather strange that a car was sitting in front of her house with the trunk up. As I was starting to go over and see what was happening, the guy wearing the vest even spoke to me. They both rushed to their car. Flew off down the street with the trunk still flopping.

I went over to speak with neighbor to find out what they had wanted.  She was still under the impression they needed to trim the tree and would be back Monday.  Everything looked suspicious to me so I gave her a good pep talk. Went back to my house.  In a few minutes, my neighbor was ringing my doorbell and very, very upset.  After she went into her house, she could tell the man had been in there.  I immediately got the phone and called 911. Went back to her house to try and give the 911 lady the right information. Finally, my neighbor got herself under control enough to tell the operator what had happened. The police came, went into her house and discussed the situation with her. They could not find anything missing. Just signs were he had ransacked the closets.


Then one of policemen came over to ask me questions. Since it all happened so quickly, there were things I could have noticed or done that never crossed my mind. He said I did the right thing by calling 911.  Also, there had been many such cases on the West side of town, but not ours.

As most of you know, as a result of my blog, I take my camera with me all the time.  I had it in my hand when they came around the house, and got into their car.  Could have captured them as well as the car and possibly helped the police find them. Had no reason to suspect what was happening.  Lesson learned for both of us. From now on, I will be taking photos of any strange looking person or car around our homes.

She was one of the fortunate ones that things turned out the way they did.

Somewhere along life's way the word TRUST fell through the cracks. It is a shame, but you just cannot afford to do it anymore.



Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh my gosh, I read this just SAD, that they would do this to a senior. I am just SO glad she was not hurt!! You did everything right, she is lucky to had you for a friend and to wise her up. The last sentence you say, it fits perfectly!

Barbara F. said...

Lucky for your neighbor, this could have been a lot worse. Hopefully she will not be so trusting again. I never open my door fully, I talk through the screen door, or even open a window and talk that way! Stay safe, xo

Darlene said...

This is happening here in Oklahoma. I just seen it on the news last night. People acting as utility persons making you go to the backyard while someone else goes in the front, robbing you of your valuables and asking about other people in the home. Even legitimate utility people park away from my home as I live on a busy main street. Even if they had an I.D. they could still make a fake one. I guess what would be the clue is if they ask about other people in the home. I'm so sorry for your friend. It could happen to any of us. Take care, Darlene

Jeannie Marie said...

I hope to remember this along with the dozens of other scams I've been told about, when or if the time comes. The surprise factor is why they are so successful. No one is ever expecting it. I hope your neighbor doesn't have nightmares over this.

Pam~ Virginia Retro said...

It really is sad how these scam artists prey on Seniors. I've worked with Seniors for the last 8 years and the scam ideas are endless. You were quick to call 911, that was very smart. I also forget about pulling out the phone to snap a photo. Your story might help me remember!

Thanks for sharing this LV. Sorry this happened to your neighbor, but glad they did not take anything of value or hurt her in any way. Times are scary!

Ruth Hiebert said...

Thanks for sharing this. Yes,we would like to believe that most people are trustworthy,but unfortunately that is not so anymore. I guess the bottom line is that we can never be too cautious.

Lui said...

Oh, I'm glad they did not hurt her. I live with two sisters who are now in their senior years and we keep watch over the neighborhood teeming with seniors like them. I think you are right that we take pictures of strange looking people lurking down the streets. And having dogs help.

George said...

I'm glad nothing was taken from your neighbor's home, but ransacking the house was bad enough. A couple of years ago our Community Club recommended photographing strangers and their cars.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Scary... Glad your neighbor wasn't hurt.. Glad also they didn't steal anything from her. However, that was still a horrible incident....We humans can be so trusting.

Thanks for sharing.. Glad that one turned out okay though.

Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

Well, thank God she wasn't hurt or anything precious to her taken.

This is a VERY good reminder!

Once I was sitting here at my pc in the bright light of morning daylight and watched a young man in my cul-de-sac. He seemed confused, or hesitant or something - but DEFINATELY out of place.

He came up to my door and rang the bell and I didn't answer it, something told me not to do so. I hid myself and watched him and he got angry no one came - and then, right there with me hearing/watching he TRIED THE DOOR.

Thank GOD it was locked, cuz he woulda come in!

Later on we heard rumours of some crazed dude in the neighborhood.

I called the police and told them a really specific description as I had some time watching him from cul-de-sac and from being on my front porch. I told them he tried my door and seemed agitated.

So, it can happen to anyone, anywhere - no one seems to be exempt these days.

Jan n Jer said...

You hear about this all the time...What a shame that you can not trust anyone or anything in this world we live in today!! Your Neighbor was lucky!