It is a family nightmare- an elderly parent who refuses to listen to her children's warnings that con men are robbing her blind.
Juan Hood and her 83-year-old mother are now estranged because foreign lottery scams have torn their family apart.
"We are looking at having to have her deemed unfit or incompetent. That is going to take an excruciating amount of money. That is going to take an excruciating amount of time," said Hood.
According to Hood, her mother has always entered various sweepstakes that arrive in the mail. "Even when I was a child. She would play, of course everyone does, Publishers Clearing House."
But something changed when Hood's father died and her mother was left alone.
"I've seen decline in her over the last several years," Hood said.
The scam started when Hood's mother began getting calls telling her she'd won the lottery. All she needed to do was pay taxes. She also received calls saying she'd won a car and just had to pay the storage fee.
So she sent the money- over and over again.
In fact, the post office noticed the packages she was sending to various addresses, so the postmaster visited Hood's mother at her home.
"I said, 'Quit sending them your money.' She said, 'No, I'm not. They are going to help me.' In this case, she trusted the people that she had been talking on the phone more than she trusted us," said postmaster Dwayne Davis.
Hood's mother has lost more than $20,000 and has put herself in debt with all of the international calls, but she still won't stop. So postal inspectors were forced to take drastic measures, even talking with her clergy and obtaining a federal search warrant to stop money orders from going through the post office.
"I don't believe my mother will get help until she loses every single penny she's got," Hood admitted.
To prevent this from happening to your elderly parents, you can get power of attorney over your parent's financial matters, so if something goes wrong, you can prevent your parents from losing their entire life savings.
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