The US government estimates that as much as $1 billion dollars are lost to the con game best known as the Jamaican Scam.
Sadly, the elderly are most vulnerable to the highly sophisticated con job. This scam preys on those persons who are often lonely and those that are looking for a quick fix to their financial problems.
Here’s how it works. A telephone call is placed from overseas to the targeted person. The con artist weaves a story that is tailored to that individual. The con is often incredibly patient willing to commit many hours, days and often months to build trust and to lure the victim in. It may be a story of a lottery winning that the person can claim as long as they pay a certain amount over a period of time. Some use romance to reel in victims, feigning interest in lonely seniors. The consistent theme is one in which the con artist convinces the victim to begin sending money.
Unfortunately, my office is contacted by family members after tens of thousands of dollars have been sent overseas. Generally, there is no recourse to get this money back. The most important thing to do is to ensure that the hemorrhaging is stopped.
This financial exploitation is a strong indicator that the elderly family member needs protection in the form of a guardian or conservator. With the appointment of a guardian or conservator, a layer of protection is in place to prevent money from continuing to be spent wastefully.
My office successfully stops the Jamaican scam by protecting the individual by filing a petition for appointment of guardian and conservator. The court ordered fiduciary takes control of the money and prevents unauthorized monies from being sent overseas. If you have a loved one that has been exploited by the Jamaican scam, consider appointing a guardian and conservator to protect them.