Get Gephardt | Stories - Elderly Utahns Lose $1 Million A Day
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Elderly Utahns Lose $1 Million A Day
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Cindy St. Clair
Photography by Brian Morris and Mike Fessler
Edited by Aaron Colborn

(KUTV) Last year, Don Cain got a call that changed his life. The caller told Don he'd won $3,500,000 but to claim his money, Don first had to pay a few fees.

“I thought we’d be millionaires,” Don said.

The caller was a smooth talking con man who, over the course of several months, convinced Don the send several payments that ultimately added up to over $20,000.

Many people around Don knew he was being scammed. His wife, Velma, begged him not to send any money. Still he did. Velma called the police and the police pleaded with him not to send any more money. Still, he did. Velma also called Get Gephardt and we assured him in the most direct way that he was sending money to a crook. Still he sent more money.

Now, Don says he is embarrassed that he fell for the con man’s lies. He agreed to tell his story to try and help other families from falling into the same trap.

"I don't want this to happen to any other person,” Don said. “This is not right."

It's a story the people at the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services says they hear all too often.

"What happens is these scam artists are specifically targeting seniors, because they own 70 percent of the nation's assets," says legal services director Jilenne Gunther.

Gunther says that when it comes to ripping off seniors in Utah, the numbers are staggering. A 2010 study titled, The Utah Cost of Financial Exploitation, says up to $1 million per day is stolen from Utah seniors. It's a number that increased by 50 percent from 2008 to 2010.

Gunther offers this advice to anyone who thinks they won it big: "Don’t engage [the scammer]. Shut it down at the very beginning. Shut the door, throw it away, hang-up the phone."

Gunther says she once saw a case in which an individual had been taken for just under a million dollars.
She says when seniors lose their nest egg, it ends up costing taxpayers, because the victims have little choice but to turn to government assistance for help.

Velma says that almost as frustrating as losing the money, was not being able to stop her husband from sending it.

Attorney David York says that there are legal options a loved one can take to get control of someone's finances but it's often difficult to seize control of an account and doing so often takes a lot of time. And he says there are much kinder options. He suggests seniors consider putting their extra money into a joint account, one that takes two signatures to make any large purchases or transactions.

"One thing you can do is to move excess funds into a joint account that requires two signatures,” he said. He suggests perhaps the best person to partner with would be a trusted child. “It makes it so the parent doesn't lose control, but they also need a partner to sign off. By the same token, the child doesn't have total control."

The latter point is important because, according to the report, 57% of money stolen from seniors is stolen by members of that senior’s family.

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)Elderly Utahns Lose $1 Million A Day

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here

More Gephardt Stories

Get Gephardt: Military discount tough to claim for Vet's wife
Concert refund disappears in dead account
Good question: What's with the disturbing face on the city and county building?
Headstones delayed by Ogden monument maker
Get Gephardt: Movers destroy table, refuse to cover damage
Hidden leak costs homeowner, Insurance company refuses to help
Wallet Watch: Workers taking advantage of health care plans
Lender refuses to drop PMI
Wallet Watch: Big ticket items sitting on store shelves, Twitter ads, Seaworld shares
Major retailer refuses to honor warranty claim
Wallet Watch: Treasury department takes fake bills off streets, gas prices
Good question: Has this been a smaller fire season in Utah?
Wallet Watch: e-Cigarettes
Comcast Scam Investigation
Insurance bills for out-of-network hospitals
Late mail delivery investigation
Good Question: How did running with bulls tradition begin?
FedEx fined for drug deliveries, back to school prices rise and Utah unemployment drops further
Yellow Page scammers targeted by FTC
Airline fees, Google looks at security flaws and Microsoft announces layoffs
Comcast in damage control, automaker recalls continue and Hersheys instates a price hike
Illegible finger prints stall adoption
Citigroup pays for mortgage crisis, president pushes infrastructure projects and a new Airbus
Good Question: Why does a soccer ball bend?
Disabled woman loses benefits because of prepaid funeral plans
FTC Complaint: Amazon got rich off unauthorized in-app purchases
Woman's vehicle seized by police after bogus police report
McNeil trial witness now allegedly a deceitful contractor
RSL fans towed despite paying to park
Costly colonoscopy following a man's belly ache
Good news for job hunters and celebration cost on the rise
Arizona baseball games blacked out in Utah
Gas prices hit six year high, no guns allowed in Target and Google buys Songza
FTC seeks hundreds of millions from T-Mobile for cramming
FTC: T-Mobile made millions with bogus charges
Women's football league leaves supporters hungry, for cookies
Good Question: "Can you be arrested for not paying a debt?"
Cable company stands up customer thrice
L'Oreal's deceptive advertising, GM recalls additional vehicles and new airline threats
Kleargear ordered to pay $300k to Utah couple
Supreme Court rules against internet television streaming company
What to do when winning doesn't pay
Isolation at work, home prices jump and AT&T/DirecTV merger
Bundling delay costs consumer
Airbag recalls, Americans struggle to save and pushing for paid maternity leave
Good Question: "Why do grads wear square-caps and gowns?"
Smartphone kill switch lowers theft, Google encourages girls to code and Harley Davidson goes electric
Auto-warranty company slow to give refunds in Utah, nationwide
GM recall lawsuit, fed talks interest rates and Amazon reveilles new phone
Luggage lost for more than a year
Home construction slows, Dr. Oz testifies and tech companies target home security
Good Question "What if you leave your mail in the box?"
More GM recalls, PF Chang credit issues and Priceline merges with OpenTable
Soccer hooliganing: Scams target fans
Possible gas price spike, beer makers slow the flow and Hobby Lobby's deceptive advertising practices
Glitch shows Medicaid recipient underpaid
Frequent flier changes, Amazon's aggressive negotiations and Subway strikes deal with Keurig
Lender error leaves man with huge student loans
Utah's small business grade, smart phone wallets and Microsoft boasts games at E3
Fine Print Allows Movers Unlimited Time to Deliver
Advertise with us!


Pay It Forward
Fresh Living
Family Matters
Road Trippin
Hooked On Utah

Advertise with us!