Stock

The Moneyist: My just lately widowed father, 68, met a lady on Fb – and despatched her Bitcoin so they might meet

Dear Quentin,

My father is 68 years old and has recently become a widower. His wife, my stepmother, had her finances under control and so couldn't spend or do as much as he wanted. She died in December. Recently he "connected" to someone on Facebook
FB,
-2.47%
– a woman he didn't know and who wasn't friends with anyone on his friends list.

I found out about this when he called my brother for help because he tried to share his Netflix
NFLX,
-2.36%
Account information with her and it didn't work. My brother and I both told him that it was very dangerous to give out account information and passwords as fraudsters could use that information to access other accounts or credit card information.

""My brother and I both told him it was very dangerous to give out account information and passwords because fraudsters could use that information to access other accounts or credit card information."

We asked him not to speak to her again and never to give out any account information. Yesterday I learned that he is still communicating with this person, and I also learned from a friend that he tried to send their money – when it didn't work, he converted it to bitcoin
BTCUSD,
-1.50%
to send to her so that she can visit him.

It's not the first time he's been betrayed like this. Before he married my stepmother, he was in contact with another person abroad, whom he had come to over several months for at least $ 10,000 for "plane tickets", "bills", etc. and had a look at him.

It put a lot of strain on our relationship as he didn't listen to me that it was a scam, not even when I showed him it was a scam. How do I navigate these waters now and what can I do to protect his finances? I am in no position to save him financially or to provide for him if he loses everything to a betrayal.

Annoyed by scammers

You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus to qfottrell@marketwatch.com and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear annoyed one,

Your dad feels isolated and lonely and it's hard to break this amazing dream he found or could find again. It is doubly difficult when the person on the other end of the line tells him that they understand and see him.

Intervention risks making your father feel controlled or infantilized. Of course, that is not your intention, and even if he believed it, it will not come true.

Report the profile in question on Facebook as a fake. Talk to your father, ask him how he is doing, and tell him that you understand that he is lonely and has been through a lot – but that sending money to strangers on the internet is almost invariably a scam and that You invest more time and emotions and yes, money into that promise of a relationship will not make it come true, nor will it change the outcome. That means you have to bypass him if he doesn't take action yourself.

"Intervention risks making your father feel controlled or infantilized. Of course, that is not your intention, and even if he believed it, it will not come true.

The American Bankers Association also has the following advice regarding financial abuse of the elderly: “Talk to a trusted family member who cares about your interests or your clergy. Talk to your lawyer, doctor, or a member of your bank. Contact your state's adult protection service or local police force for assistance. Report all cases of financial abuse of the elderly to your local police – if it is fraud they should be investigated. "

Your father is not alone in his experience. Single people are particularly vulnerable to scammers.

"Seniors are increasingly becoming targets of financial abuse," adds the ABA. “With people over the age of 50 controlling over 70% of the nation's wealth, scammers are using new tactics to take advantage of baby boomer retirees and the growing number of older Americans. It is estimated that senior financial abuse has cost victims at least $ 2.9 billion in the past year alone. "

But how do you find the words? Some suggestions: “I love you. I'm worried about you. I don't want you to be taken advantage of and I don't want you to be hurt. It happens to millions of people every year – millions of intelligent, sensitive people like you and me. Nobody is immune from fraud. "

Hope you can find a way to help him, but it takes a team of family members and professionals. This doesn't sound like something you can do on your own.

By emailing your questions, you consent to their being posted anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you agree that we may use your story or versions of it in all media and platforms, including through third parties.

Check out Moneyist's private Facebook Group in which we look for answers to life's thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or take part in the latest Moneyist columns.

The moneyist regrets not being able to answer questions one by one.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

• “I just don't trust my sister”: How do I give money to my nieces without their mother having access to it?
• We're getting married and having a baby on the way. My wife offered to pay off my $ 10,000 student debt and $ 7,500 car loan
• I have three children. I left my house to my most responsible son. Now he's blocked my calls
• My brother-in-law died, leaving his house in chaos. His landlord wants me to repaint and replace the carpet. What should we do?

Related Articles