They say it comes with old age. The ability to be easily fooled, that is.
Just maybe, though, it could be the growing number of scammers out there who are trying to trick old folks like me out of our hard-earned retirement money.
Con artists, it appears, never seem to run out of scams or old folks to target.
As a dithering, old-fool victim, I feel I can speak with knowledge on this topic. We, the elderly, are bombarded each day by scam artists. They ply their persuasions on us through our home and cell phones and on our computers.
When we fall for their scams, it’s like watching our money sift through our fingers like sand at the beach.
Sadly, the once-reliable landlines, which many seniors still rely on, and the at-home computer are the preferred devices for quick-talking flimflammers.
The con jobs never slow down. The phones keep ringing, and the con artists keep coming without letup. We can’t drop our guard for even a moment. If we do, we lose. And that’s what the scammers wish.
I just got off the phone a little while ago with a fake cousin who was calling from an area doc-in-the-box clinic. He had the busted lip sewn, and he needed money to pay for his medical care.
He mumbled a name I couldn’t understand, like I was maybe his uncle. But I could hear the words plainly that he had to pay the bill but was short on cash. I hung up.
A short time later another call came. This one was about a revolutionary heart device for the elderly that works under any conditions, even when it’s frozen solid. It was affordable and guaranteed to keep an old heart like mine from failing. Again, I hung up.
Next was a call about a miracle hearing aid that can pick up the sound of a needle dropping on carpet.
That was followed by a call from a wildlife fund that needed donations to bring a special kind of horned toad back from the brink of extinction.
Then there were the miracle pills that can cure gout, worn-out kidneys or failing hearts. And the pills are remarkably low priced.
Next came the luxury gift and travel scammers, offering Gucci loafers, grand ocean cruises and adventure trips in the islands at unbelievably low prices. The offers were good for that day only.
So why do so many scam artists target the elderly? Is it that we appear to be dithering old idiots? Most of us are still pretty sharp, you know. Scammers better listen up.
Bottom line, though, is all about Old Dollar Bill, the root of all evil. The scammers love to collect them. And it’s about how many victims a scammer can persuade each day. We’re not cheaper by the dozen. No, the scammers get richer by the dozen.
I’ve heard that some cool scammers keep score. If they can fool a half dozen or more senior citizens each day, they can receive a bonus and keep their low-life jobs.
That’s the way scammers describe it, as their day jobs. We elderly citizens tend to retire early, so the calls need to be made before sundown. That’s the reason the phone rings all day.
And then there are the urgent pleas for donations. “Can we count on you for a donation to keep the telephone bills paid so we can keep on scamming?”
Then there are the offers for better service for our mobile phones. Twice the speed, unlimited calls to other planets, a special line to the White House, etc. All the scammers need with our donation or order is a credit card number and an expiration date.
Bah, humbug! Give us a break. We victims are old, weary and easily confused. We can’t figure out which calls are legit because one call follows another without a break.
But what we so desperately need is a break. We do not want our home phones ringing every minute with an offer or a solicitation. We would like a little respect after a lifetime of hard work and generous giving. In other words, show a little mercy.
I’m sure I’ll get a call about this column. It appears I may need a new word program or a new computer. Someone will call with the deal of a lifetime, a deal too good to be true. So, I’ll be polite. But in the end, it’s thanks, but no thanks.
Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is email@example.com.