I am not sure where or how to start this blog, so I will just begin. I have a loved one; let’s call him Jack, who has fallen victim to financial exploitation. As a result, the feeling of shame and embarrassment that he has is immense. I believe the exploiters are using these feeling to manipulate and capitalize on his fear and insecurity while they continue to work in the shadows for their own ends. I believe it is time to shine some light so others can know and protect their loved ones from the hell Jack is experiencing.
Over the last five months, Jack has been suffering from extreme anxiety as the situation has deteriorated because of a financial exploitation scam that has wiped out his life’s savings. Now the exploiters are going after his pension and house. The people who are doing this to him are truly evil and have no conscience. I have proof that the exploiters are based on foreign soil and are running a very complex and sophisticated ring using many vulnerable adults and seniors across this country. They are using complex systems within our banking institutions and as one former law enforcement official said, “Heather this is the bounced check crisis of our day.” The dollar amounts that people are losing are staggering. Our seniors who have served us so well for so long are being taken to the cleaners, and no one is talking about it.
My hope in writing this blog is to raise awareness with others about signs we saw with Jack in the hope that it will give you enough confidence to inquire and help save your loved one from the living hell my family is walking right now. I cannot tell you how many people I know who have a family member or know of a fellow senior citizen who has been wiped out financially or are actively involved in this financial exploitation and no one can do anything about it.
I first became suspicious when Jack began to complain of financial constraints. Usual purchases like eating out or buying birthday presents became a concern. I also noticed that he was overly concerned with his ample retirement funds. With the planning and a lifetime of hard work, he should have had NO concerns about retirement funds. Jack has worked so hard to ensure he would have the means to retire comfortably that this raised a red flag.
When I approached him about the status of his finances, I hit a brick wall. Everything was fine. Then I began to hear concerns about his ability to work. The need to earn money was extreme. A panic. I heard “I’ll get a part-time job. I’ll work for a while.” As he talked about it, I chalked it up to Jack’s need to be active and his desire to keep engaged in the workplace and with others.
It wasn’t until April of this year when everything exploded in a crisis. Jack approached several family members for a loan. The money was needed immediately. The urgency and the tone in his voice scared me. Something was horribly wrong. I called my family members, and we set up a time to talk with Jack. It was Friday, April 21st that the call happened. I learned that he was involved in a financial scam and had taken about $300,000 from his savings and racked up another $40,000+ in credit card debt to give to the “bad guys.”
With my family, we did everything we could to learn what to do. Calls to the local police, calls to the Attorney General’s office, calls to federal agencies designed to help, calls to lock Jack’s credit, calls to change phone numbers and mailing addresses, calls to all the financial institutions where he had accounts that had been hacked and exploited. Hours and hours of calls to the many credit cards that were involved. The financial exploiters had conned Jack into sharing every single detail with them from social security information to account information and passwords, to personal information. The financial exploiters were able to get Jack to share details about other family members in case something happened to him so they could enjoy the financial “prize.”
When we were temporarily able to cut the lines of communication with the exploiters, the bad guys called my younger brothers house constantly 24/7. They had his personal information. To this day, we are still terrified for all of our family members. The exploiters now had our information, and we had no idea of what they would do to Jack let alone our family and our children. We unplugged the phone, and we made sure an adult was with our kids 24/7.
If that wasn’t bad enough, law enforcement told us not to worry about the calls. These criminals never come to your house. They are making empty threats. Don’t worry. Well, guess what, the financial exploiters have sent people to Jack’s house. They have sent taxis, and they have sent multiple pizza delivery people. The pattern is the same; they send someone unsolicited to Jack’s house; he answers the door, and the delivery person hands him their cell phone with the financial exploiters on the phone with a message. We have discussed this with the police, with federal law enforcement and even with the pizza delivery shops. We have changed Jack’s landline and cell phone number multiple times. Trying to break the lines of communication with the exploiters and Jack to this point has been impossible. It is terrifying to know that criminals are coming to the door of your loved one. My heart is breaking as I am witness to the suffering, anxiety and complete surrender of Jack to this dark force in his life. I would willingly cut off my limb to stop the suffering. Name the price evil ones, and I will pay. Leave Jack alone! Make the suffering stop!
After talking with Jack, we were able to piece together that this financial exploitation began in the spring of 2016 with the promise of winnings from a lottery where a winning fee was needed to be paid to claim “the prize.” To be clear, Jack never bought a lottery ticket and yet to this day is adamant that the winnings he is entitled to are just around the corner. The temptation and allure of having a significant amount of money have been so enticing that logic, reasoning and all clear-headed thinking has ceased!
One of the hardest parts in all of this is this fraudulent activity is still happening. The financial scammers are still actively coaching and programming Jack. It is now to the point that I feel like I am watching a terrifying movie of a train crash that is coming to a head but no one will do anything to help. This train is barreling to the station. The train is going to crash. I am yelling at the top of my lungs “get off the train. Stop the train. Get out of the way.” No one is responding.
My family has reached out to doctors, psychiatrists, local police, state agencies, federal law enforcement, attorneys, county departments, even the local crisis intervention team all said – we can’t-do anything. Wake up! There is a crisis happening, and no one is helping Jack. You name it we have tried it. Even my psychologist has shared that she has never seen a family try to help a loved one to the extent that we have. The message we keep hearing over and over again is no one can help him until it gets bad. What is their definition of bad anyway?
No one seems to be in a position to offer help. Jack is caught up in a dangerous current that is heading out of control. No one appears to be able to fully comprehend the depths and darkness of this crisis that I know in my heart is impacting more people than just my loved one. No one seems to be able to enter into this messy, dynamic and out of control nightmare. Trained professionals are saying their hands are tied. Well here is my cry. My loved one needs help. Someone somewhere has to have seen this before and knows how to help. Please someone see my smoke signal, see my warning flag and send help. My loved one and your loved ones who have served us well need us.