Woman tricked out of $3,000+ by con man

  • Mrs B a victim of senior harassment looks from the window of her apartment yesterday. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    Mrs B a victim of senior harassment looks from the window of her apartment yesterday. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

The family of a trusting pensioner conned out of thousands by an alleged drug addict have warned others to be on their guard.

“I’ve gotten an education into how older folks get picked on by career criminals,” said former SPCA officer Debbie Masters, who was alerted to the plight of her 85-year-old relative in 2011 — and thought the problem was over.

Last week Ms Masters was appalled to find the same relative, dubbed Mrs B to protect her real name, being approached once again by the man who had enticed her into handing over her savings.

Ms Masters had to move Mrs B out of her existing apartment and into a new place after she’d been singled out as a soft touch.

“Others have had problems with the same man. Now I know why we had so many people coming to the SPCA to get a dog for security.

“There’s a criminal element that has definitely gotten worse in Bermuda. I’d had to think of an old lady without family or somebody to fight for them having to deal with a situation like this.”

She added: “It does not bode well for me, at the age of 67, if this is what you have to go through when you get older.”

Police are familiar with the case, and a spokesman for the service said an officer from the Vulnerable Persons Unit “has been in contact with the female senior citizen and her concerned family member regarding this matter since it was originally reported”.

Admitting that she had voluntarily handed over about $3,000, Mrs B told The Royal Gazette: “I was stupid, but I wasn’t feeling well at the time.”

She added: “I met him at the bus station. I had to sit down and rest. I knew this man’s family when he told me his name.

“The rest of them are perfectly ordinary, honest, hard working people, but apparently he is the horror of the family.

“I thought that he was a plumber. I took him home and showed him the work I wanted done, and I gave him money to get the tools he needed.”

In the end, however, “I was scared to death of him”, she said.

Preferring to keep indoors after the incident, Mrs B was startled to discover the same man last week at her apartment complex, where “a lot of other older people are staying”.

“He came and said he wanted to use the bathroom. I let him use it and then he disappeared. I found afterwards that he’d left his tools in my bathroom cupboard.”

The family contacted the police, and Mrs B was instructed to keep her door properly secured and to report any suspicious behaviour.

Ms Masters said she’d come forward so that others with elderly relatives would be aware of the risks.

“This is a guy who knows just how far to push it so that he can beat the system,” she said. “Lord knows what else he’s done.”

Mrs B said she’d been reassured by police, who are working in partnership with the National Office for Seniors.

A police spokesman added: “Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected elder abuse to the Vulnerable Persons Unit on 247-1678.”

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Published Jan 16, 2013 at 8:52 am (Updated Jan 16, 2013 at 8:52 am)

Woman tricked out of $3,000+ by con man

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