Welcome to SeniorVu’s daily ‘flash fiction’, with the continuing saga of Mary Lu at the Vu. Mary Lu is a 78-year old fictitious resident of a fictitious senior living community called Hickory Hills View (a.k.a. The Vu). Every night, while her husband Bobby (he’s fictitious too) sleeps next to her, she sends her sister Carolyn (yup, fictitious) an entertaining email updating her on the day. These are her stories. We hope they become as addictive as your morning cup of coffee.
Disclaimer: Even though these stories may sound familiar to your community, the story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this series are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
I think our seminar today helped a lot of people.
Arthur Brooks, a retired FBI agent who Jackie knew from her newspaper days, came to give a talk in the community room about scams that target seniors. No one in the room had any idea that my neighbor Harriett had, two days earlier, handed over five grand in one of those scams.
“Let’s pretend you get a call,” Agent Brooks said, making a receiver out of his thumb and pinkie. “Someone’s on the line with news that you owe $28,000 in unpaid taxes. What do you do?”
He pointed to Angela.
“Cry?” she guessed.
Bless her heart.
“No,” Agent Brooks said. “The IRS won’t just call you. So if someone claims to be from the IRS, there’s only one thing you should do.”
He hung up his finger phone.
“Scammers love going after people our age,” Agent Brooks continued. “They think we’re gullible. They know we’re compassionate,” he said. “Don’t show these clowns any compassion. None at all.”
Noreen asked if the FBI could castrate all the people who pull these scams.
Agent Brooks gave us a hotline to report suspicious calls, but he cautioned that the scammers are usually outside the country – and beyond the reach of American law enforcement. The best thing to do, he said, was not become a victim in the first place.
He also gave us some information that might explain how the scammers knew Harriett’s grandson was in South Korea. He said some scammers will mine social media for information about your friends and family. They’ll use that to add a degree of authenticity to their message.
Harriett and I later decided that the person who called her probably saw her comment on one of her grandson’s Facebook photos. He used the photo to learn Elliott’s name, his current location and his interest in humanitarian causes.
I think we did a lot of good today.
I don’t think anyone here at The Vu will fall victim to one of these scams again.
P.S. To catch up on all of my previous Mary Lu at The Vu posts, click here to go back to Day 1.