Quiet Desperation

When people get up there in age, others go low to take advantage

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 5/10/17

Jennifer has her hands full this spring with three seniors. One is graduating from high school, one is graduating from college, and one gets a discount at Red Lobster.

That's me. I just love the …

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Quiet Desperation

When people get up there in age, others go low to take advantage

Posted

Jennifer has her hands full this spring with three seniors. One is graduating from high school, one is graduating from college, and one gets a discount at Red Lobster.

That's me. I just love the Oyster Dainties.

I read articles about seniors all the time, and I pay heed.

We are a susceptible tribe, maybe because we grew up trusting others.

Not only that, many of the swindles and scams aimed at us are very convincing.

There's one more thing: We're thought to have to a lot of dough sitting in our accounts.

Artists, like seniors, are vulnerable. Sales are often few and far between, and you have to feed the cat.

A few years ago, I was scammed by art collectors who weren't really art collectors.

Their stories all had a similar hitch in them, however. Namely, that they would overpay for a painting.

They promised to pay with a cashier's check.

All I had to do was reimburse the difference between the painting's actual price and the overpayment.

The explanation for the overpayment was screwy.

I did some research and discovered that it was an international art scam, and that the cashier's checks were phony.

It turns out that my pessimistic disposition comes in handy when it comes to offers that sound too good to be true.

Ask me again in 10 years, if a curvy blonde tries to pitch me something, and does it with a wide-open smile and a sweet voice.

Maybe by then I will appreciate the attention.

There are legendary stories in Hollywood about well-known, wealthy, and very elderly actors and actresses suddenly having very young women and men on the arms, and in their pockets.

I don't trust anyone, and that goes for Jennifer and the dog.

Whenever Jennifer leaves, I always count the silverware.

The phone call hustles are easy for me to handle. I have an unlisted number. If I can't identify the caller's name or phone number, I don't answer, or I answer with an imprecation.

An email gives me a chance to look the offer up and down. Usually there are misspellings, and that means some African country, Southeast Asia, Pakistan or India.

Of course, we have a lot of home-grown scammers.

It's frustrating, isn't it, to know that you are the game at this stage in life?

The worst of all scams? Catfishing a senior. They pretend to want your heart and soul, but all they want is your money.

That is as low as it gets.

If you have a senior father or mother, or grandfather or grandmother, pass this column on to them.

My motto, and it's right there in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, is, "Distrust is the foundation of a good relationship."

Listen, don't even trust me. But I will never, ever try to take advantage of anyone, especially a senior citizen.

We're on pills and doctors, our friends are passing away, and just walking from A to B gets tricky. Here comes someone with a slippery smile, who knows you by name, and has an offer you can't refuse.

Refuse.

You know what Bela Lugosi used to say.

"Bevare, bevare, bevare."

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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