Oh Lord. Reading some of these brought back an even more painful tale of woe from two years ago. I've written here before about my elderly neighbor who often shows up at my door seeking help because she doesn't want to bother her kids who live a few states away. (So I call them and bother them instead.)
Anyway, about two or three years ago, she got involved in what I think is called the 314 scam. Her kids called me because they hadn't been able to get through on the phone to talk to her. Her sister called to tell me she couldn't get through. So I went across the hall to tell her she needed to call them.
And found out that people stationed in a certain country had been calling her every five minutes or so to tell her she had won "The Haitian Millionaire's Lottery" because THAT sounded so legit. They called about other lotteries. They called to tell her about this prize she had won and that prize she had won. But of course, first she had to send them several thousand dollars to pay the taxes on the prizes.
I told her there was no such thing as a Haitian Millionaire's Lottery. Her kids told her. Her sister told her. I found myself on the phone telling these people to do unenviable things to themselves I brought her articles about the scam and why it was called a 314 scam (it's the area code). SHE KEPT SENDING THEM MONEY ANYWAY.
These people called pretending to be the FBI and telling her they would arrest her and her children if she did not comply with the rulings. They told her I was lying and her kids were lying and we wanted to claim the money for themselves. She was getting neighbors to take her to her bank and the store to get bank checks and money orders.
FINALLY, she had a stress attack and ended in the hospital and I insisted her kids come up and fix it. To their credit, they did by getting her a new phone number. (I argued that they needed to get her caller ID and an unlisted number, but they were SURE this would take care of the problem.) Amazingly, the phone company even forgave the almost five hundred dollar phone bill she had from dialing back all those 314 numbers. She couldn't get back the thousands of dollars she had sent, though.
Unfortunately, her kids and I didn't do as good of a scouting/clean up job as we could have: she found a couple pieces of paper on which she had scrawled some of the 314 numbers AND CALLED THEM TO FIND OUT WHO THEY WERE. And we were back to the races again.
Her eldest kid got a clue and got her mother both an unlisted number and caller ID.
Unfortunately, Ruby still falls for this carp. If you ask her why she says "Because I am an idiot."
Her kids have finally ante'd up to get her a companion three days a week, but I still wish they would consider assisted living for her.