She Thought Thomas Loved Her


She Thought Thomas Loved Her

Ruth is an 86 year old widow who lives alone. No longer driving, our volunteers help her by doing her grocery shopping.  Her daughter Carol lives in another state, but she is very devoted to her mom.  Carol has been trying to convince Ruth to move near her for years, but she refuses.

Last week, Carol called our office to say that she just learned that her mom had been scammed out of her life savings!

So what happened?

One day, Ruth received a phone call from a man who called himself Thomas.  Thomas said that he was doing a survey but then kept Ruth on the phone making small talk. Since Ruth lives alone and doesn’t drive, she tends to get lonely and welcomed this conversation.

Because Ruth stayed on the phone Thomas knew he had a “live one” and he began calling her every day.  He knew just what to say too.  He asked Ruth about her life growing up, what she liked to do, what music she liked, etc.  He complimented her and said talking to her was the highlight of his day. He told her how much she meant to him in his life.  He even went so far as to send her a bouquet of flowers with a little note about how much he was thinking about her!!

Of course, Ruth said nothing about this to Carol.  She was embarrassed that at 86, she was becoming infatuated with a man she never met. 

Until finally, the shoe dropped – Thomas needed an operation and couldn’t afford to pay the doctor bills.  He asked Ruth if she could send him money and as soon as he could, he would pay her back. This happened over and over again.  First, it was a bunch of medical tests he needed, then it was hospital bills, then it was physical therapy and rehab and on and on until Ruth sent him close to $40,000.00!!

Carol only learned of this when she visited her mom and saw her mom’s bills piled up on a table without being paid.  It was then that Ruth told her daughter the story. There was no chance she was going to get her money back.  The next time Thomas called, Carol spoke to him and said she was onto him, but he quickly hung up and was never heard from again.

I found this so heartbreaking.  Ruth probably did feel like Thomas loved her and what a lovely feeling this must have been for her after being alone for so long. I’m sure she was so sad to realize that she was being used. Ruth didn’t have a lot of money, but what she did have she and her husband worked for and saved for many years. It was gone – poof, not to be returned. The embarrassment and shame Ruth experienced explaining this to Carol must have been overwhelming.  She considered herself a strong, independent woman, and now she was made to feel like a fool.

So – Carol had called our office to ask if there was anything we could do to help. I called my friend who works in the Prosecutor’s office. She told me basically, there was nothing she could do to get Ruth’s money back, although she did report it.  Thomas most likely was calling from another country and would be impossible to locate.

As caregivers, especially for long-distance ones, don’t we have enough on our plate to worry about besides this???  But, it’s a fact of life, so I thought this might be helpful.  Here is a list of 5 Financial Danger Warning Signs That You Shouldn’t Ignore.

Well, there is sort of a happier ending to this story.  After this experience, Ruth agreed to move close to Carol.  She didn’t want to live with her, but she moved into a small apartment 10 minutes from Carol’s home.  I hope they both can find peace after this awful experience.

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@lynettewhiteman...Thank you for sharing this story. It is so sad and all too frequent. We experienced something similar with mom with a scam artist who said her accounts had been compromised through her computer. Thank goodness, I talked with her every day and she mentioned the call. We were able to close her bank account immediately and no money was transferred out but there was a test transfer in process. Had it gone through, she would have been wiped out. Makes me furious just thinking about it again.