Sometimes Happy Endings Really Do Happen!
As December comes to a close, we want to share some good news. A colleague of ours, Paul Hynes, took legal action and helped his elderly, widowed father recover more than $90,000 that he had lost to a common money scam.
Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common story these days. Paul’s father received a letter in the mail, informing him that he had won second prize in a sweepstakes. But in order to claim his $250,000 jackpot, he would first need to send the company a “processing fee”.
In fact, the then-85-year-old gentleman was conned not just once, but daily over a period of 44 days. Each time, the “sweepstakes company” would manipulate him into wiring them more money via his local Western Union. Eventually the total reached a whopping $91,000.
Our friend Paul expressed dismay that his father would fall for what seemed like an obvious scam. “I was really shocked that my father could fall for this. He believed someone on the end of the phone that he’d never met more than he believed his own adult children.” While it seems unbelievable, the con artists who operate these scams are experts at manipulation. These operations are, essentially, what they do for a living.
Luckily, Paul’s wife just happened to hear about a court case between the Department of Justice and Western Union. The DOJ accused Western Union of “turning a blind eye” to the scams that operated via their service. Eventually a settlement was reached, and Western Union established a fund of $580 million to compensate victims.
Paul and his wife entered a claim with the system, and just recently his father received a check to compensate him for the $91,000 theft.
Paul shared with us, “At the tender age of 92, my father, Mike, is living in Plymouth, Massachusetts, near my sister, Laurie. He’s in good hands with the staff at Newfield House skilled nursing facility. No doubt the recovered funds will help pay for his ongoing care.”
“In this season of light, let this be a bright spot to lift spirits and reaffirm that hope springs eternal… and happy endings aren’t just for the movies.”