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My Dad does not believe he is being scammed - what can we do?

(46 Posts)
RandomRemote Sun 31-Jan-16 09:54:48

Firstly - my Dad has always been a very honest hard working sort of person - he's in his 80's, in very poor health and he has never behaved like this before.

He became involved with a friend trying to recover a multi million pound sum from South Africa, my dad's involvement started 2 years ago, his friend has been at this for 10 years now, many other people are rumoured to have been involved. We only recently discovered what was happening. We reported the situation to the fraud squad and the local police. The police have visited him and advised him that he was being scammed - they visited his friend too - he's lost a lot of money, money he did not have - he has begged and borrowed from family and the banks. The police can do nothing because they are willingly sending money, people can give money to whoever they like.

We have spoken to all his family - to prevent them from lending him more cash. We are concerned that the bank lent £10k to a very elderly man on a meagre pension, credit union have lent him money too....he has no assets - my mum and him, although still together, have completely separate finances.

So after the shock of discovery and many conversations we had thought he had accepted that he was being scammed. Last night we had a meeting with him to try and figure out a way to repay the money he has borrowed from a relative who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness - he refused our help because he still believes the money is coming his way - next week apparently, following another payment by him and his friend.

Things we need to figure out.

Is my mum jointly liable for his debts?

What were the bank thinking lending £10k to a very elderly man with no assists - do they not have some duty of care - is there not a responsible lending code? We intend to have a chat with the bank regarding shutting down his access to credit/overdraft facility, I know we are discussing someone else's account with them but we need to limit the damage.

Dad is clearly not thinking straight - possibly suffering from dementia but he is refusing to get tested - can we do anything about this?

Any ideas on getting my dad to face the reality that there is no money - we have explained about 419 scams, we have pointed out the inconsistencies in the documentation proving the situation is a scam. We have shown him lots of similar scam documentation on the Internet. The police have visited him 3 times...it almost feels like he has been brainwashed, his loyalty to his friend beggars belief, he is acting completely out of character. His friend has lost everything - all his money and his family have gone non contact. But both of them believe that their lives will get back on track any day now, when the money comes in and everyone realises they were right and we will all be sorry.

I am going to see citizens advice this week to find out what we can do if anything.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sun 31-Jan-16 09:59:43

The bank would not have lent your DF money unless they were satisfied he had a way of repaying the loan. So either he lied to the bank (difficult -they can and will check finances), or he has money/an income you aren't aware of.
And yes, your DM is also liable for the debt.

Difficult situation OP. Has your DF's friend got some hold on him other than the promise of money?

BlueThursday Sun 31-Jan-16 11:04:11

No your mother won't be liable if his loan is solely his.

However, if it's secured on a joint asset eg house then it will impact her.

For a fee you can do a land registry search on the house to see if there are any charges you aren't aware of against it

RandomRemote Sun 31-Jan-16 11:16:21

Dad put all his assets into an trust about 12 years ago in an attempt to avoid losing everything care home costs - I haven't seen the documents but I believe they are all above board. So I'm not sure what he's told the bank - tbh, I wouldn't be surprised if he has lied and cheated his way to get the money from the bank - he really is not behaving normally. Of course he thinks that we are all over reacting and that when the money comes through this week (again) we'll see that he's right. In reality another excuse will be made more money will be needed for legal fees or exchange rate fees or a certificate of genuine bullshit or something else.

It was definitely Dad's loan - mum knew nothing about this whole thing.

differentnameforthis Sun 31-Jan-16 11:21:58

It was definitely Dad's loan - mum knew nothing about this whole thing Op, I hope your mum hasn't signed anything for your dad yet! My friend was scammed by her dh years ago, being told that he was getting a small loan for their company. At home, with baby fog, and no reason not to trust him, she signed the docs he handed her.

He had remortgaged their house.

They separated, and the banks didn't accept that she knew nothing, so she was liable for his debt. She then had to sell her house as she couldn't afford to pay the new mortgage.

PLEASE find out if your mum has signed anything!

RandomRemote Sun 31-Jan-16 13:01:16

Will ask mum more about the details of the trust - dad is very defensive atm - doesn't see any point in dragging everything up. Dsis has suggested we all come home to confront him - none of us live close by, she thinks we can make more impact that way. In my heart I believe he would side with his friend atm - he seems to hero worship him. I've never come across anything like it - we have a recording of their conversations - we asked Dad to make it and Dad agreed because apparently his friend is a true gent with nothing to hide!

PattyPenguin Sun 31-Jan-16 13:59:13

I second checking the Land Registry www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry

Tiggeryoubastard Sun 31-Jan-16 14:04:08

Of course your mother isn't liable for your fathers debts if he took them out. I do wish people wouldn't put such incorrect rubbish on here.

Lemonski Sun 31-Jan-16 14:06:20

Gosh. How absolutely awful. I would be devestated if this was my Dad.

No advice, but I would be inclined to try pretty much anything. I would try as your sister says - its worth a try, if only so how ever this ends you can honestly say you tried everything.

I wish I had some better advice to share with you.

thatstoast Sun 31-Jan-16 14:10:32

It might be worth looking into protective registry for your mum's credit file

www.cifas.org.uk/pr_for_individuals

If your father does try to use her name for further loans this will flag up. You can put a short explanation of the situation for lenders to see. What an awful situation to be in. Is your mother financially dependent on your father?

Aridane Sun 31-Jan-16 14:26:08

Notify his bank?

BlueThursday Sun 31-Jan-16 15:21:54

Probably worthwhile your mother getting herself a credit report just to put her mind at rest. Hopefully nothing's been taken out in her name without her knowledge but I guess it's possible with your fathers recent behaviour.

Wuffleflump Sun 31-Jan-16 15:23:16

"Dsis has suggested we all come home to confront him - none of us live close by, she thinks we can make more impact that way."

I think this is likely to make him more defensive. Even if he were starting to have doubts - which does not sound like the case - expecting him to instantly and publicly admit his failings is unlikely, as it would be humiliating.

Wolpertinger Sun 31-Jan-16 15:35:23

In terms of dementia - does your mum have the same GP as your Dad? If so she and you can go to an appointment she books and share your worries. GP obviously can't say anything back about your Dad as it's confidential. Or you can just phone up and say I know you can't tell me anything about his confidential medical stuff but I am very worried he has dementia because of x, y and z, if I can get him to an appointment can you please bring up his memory?

Does Dad admit to anything about his memory - would he accept going to see GP about his memory? If not, as he is in poor health, presumably he is at the GP quite often. Does he go with your mum or go on his own?

Ideal situation is you and your mum prime GP with your worries about his memory, set up appointment, ostensibly about something else if he won't go about his memory and then GP subtly asks about memory. Ideally if you or mum are in appointment you or mum can then spill the beans if he denies all knowledge.

Difficult if he only ever goes to GP on his own and may take some drip feeding about going together so they always both know what's going on about important issues.

TalkinPeace Sun 31-Jan-16 16:18:05

Power of Attorney is your friend.
His GP will introduce it ( "to save him money on potential carer fees" )
and GPs are FAB at knowing when power of attorney will make their lives simpler too.
The second you have that you can put limits on his bank accounts which will let him live happily but cut the scammers out

Confrontation is the WORST way to go

RandomRemote Sun 31-Jan-16 16:53:46

We spoke to the GP around the time when we first discovered his situation -beginning of Jan and explained everything to him but at the time Dad was in the middle of a massive alcohol binge, GP gave him some Librium and suggested a memory test - Dad refused the test. Maybe we can get the GP to suggest it again. Fortunately he has stayed away from alcohol since, which is a big thing for him, he visits the GPs frequently but always alone.

A few cracks of light today - Dad and I had a chat this afternoon and he admitted to me that he was feeling bad about everything that's happened a first! He called my brother to apologise for his appalling behaviour last night and has promised he will call my sister to apologise to her for making false accusations against her, he seems more emotionally aware today. He has agreed that he will start to sort the financial side of things tomorrow with my brother - I fear he means when the money arrives. But I have said to him that it needs to be sorted regardless and he seemed to agree.

differentnameforthis Mon 01-Feb-16 07:48:13

Tiggeryoubastard if you are talking about my "rubbish" YOU are wrong.

My friend signed, therefore the bank believed it was HER debt as well as his. They didn't believe that she didn't know about it. Therefore, she WAS jointly liable.

RandomRemote Mon 01-Feb-16 08:01:12

My mum hasn't signed anything - she had no idea what my dad was up to and given this kind of thing is so unlike my Dad, she didn't suspect a thing, which is also the reason why so many people offered to loan him money when he asked.

Police have now warned Dad's friend that he will be taken in for questioning if he approaches anyone for more money - his status will move from scam victim to scammer - but despite the Police and Social services trying their best to convince Dads friend - he still believes the money is coming and so Dad believes it too.
We are going to try for Power of Attorney now as Dad is still not making sound judgements and he continues to believe in this scam despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 01-Feb-16 10:36:54

No, different it wasn't you. And of course someone is liable if they sign for it. But they're not liable just by being married, which some seem to think.

differentnameforthis Mon 01-Feb-16 10:47:55

My mum hasn't signed anything Good to hear!

Tiggeryoubastard No worries. Sorry for the arsey tone of my post!

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 01-Feb-16 11:40:53

It wasn't arsey, smile

Ilovefluffysheep Mon 01-Feb-16 16:55:31

Unfortunately this is very common, with people not believing they are being scammed even when the police tell them they are. I am a DC and work in fraud, so have experienced this first hand.

We had a large ponzi scheme a couple of years back that was a huge fraud, talking millions, and the majority of victims refused to give statements as they were absolutely convinced that it wasn't a scam. Even when he was arrested and charged, they still refused. The court case went ahead and he was found guilty, only then did it begin to dawn on them that actually, it was a scam, and they had lost money. Funnily enough a lot more of them were prepared to make a statement when it was decided the contents of his bank account, which had been frozen, were to be shared out.

Its very sad, the number of women in particular who have lost money due to dating scams for example, and just wouldn't accept they were being scammed. I guess when you've got into it so deep it is difficult, as if you accept it is a scam, then you have to accept you have "allowed" yourself to be scammed, and some people, particularly of the older generation are very proud and don't want to believe that. I say that not to victim blame, as of course it isn't the victims fault, these scammers are very good at what they do, but thats the thought process they go through and why I use the term allowed.

Gazelda Mon 01-Feb-16 17:03:43

Good God. How awful for you. And heartbreaking that you're having to find a way to repay the person he borrowed from who is terminally ill.
I echo what a previous poster said, that your DM go to GP and confide her fears for his memory?

RNBrie Mon 01-Feb-16 17:11:36

Um... I'd try and get details of the trust the house is in too. Generally they are also a scam as you can't protect your assets in this way to avoid care home fees. The council have the power to override a trust if it exists for no other reason than to stop you paying. That said, as long as one of them is living it, the council can't force a sale and make someone homeless. My in laws lost over £2k to a scam like this.

RandomRemote Mon 01-Feb-16 17:27:16

Unfortunately the Citizen's Advice have refused to help because my Dad as a third party has not agreed to the meeting. It's very frustrating that they can't give us advice on the best way to help him out of this mess, we will send letters to the banks signed by my mum and all his children, in the hope that it makes them more reluctant to lend him more - he still have a big overdraft facility.
My brother is supposed to be having a chat with him tonight about kicking off the process of facing up to the debt, he's a proud man....these conversations are incredibly difficult.
Dad has a notoriously poor memory. He used to talk about fearing he had Alzheimer's but only when he was drunk - when sober it was never mentioned.
On a positive note - we are a big family and for once we are all pulling the same way and doing all we can. We will pay our terminally ill relative back regardless of how dad feels about it, we of course hope he is supportive of the decision but some debts cannot be left unpaid.

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