This lady contacted Think Jessica after hearing about Jessica during a media interview. My mother, Audrey, also fell victim to this horrendous outrage of scam letters, very similar to all the others quoted on your website, so I won’t detail the course of the letters. She lived alone and was pretty independent. Like many she was afraid of having no money and wanted to give to her children and grandchildren. She was in the early stages of dementia but managing fine with just some confusion and memory problems. The scams led to many awful family rows when we tried to help and advice. we tried everything we could think of to stop them. When we persuaded her to accept a redirection of the mail, things got worse! She sent me a heartbreaking letter saying that she would kill herself if I didn’t give her the mail back.
I believe that her dementia was increased or even created by all of this. She created a whole delusional world around these letters that one could sometimes recognise from her use of phrases common to these letters. She believed that she was working for them, she had a female boss that would come and visit and sometimes walk through walls or go up the stairs and pass up through the ceiling. She believed that there were people watching the house, people in cars parked just around the corner, waiting to get her and even went to nearby houses to ask about the men in the cars.
She knew where the workplace was a couple of miles away and worried about how to get there.
She thought they had her house and that she would have nowhere to live.
She once walked a considerable distance to the Police Station at a time when walking to the end of the road was an effort, they were kind to her and drove her home but it all made no difference.
My sister took her to the Citizens Advice Bureau who told her to throw them away but not in a way she could hear (probably all too late then) and this lead to further arguments, tears, anger and a continuation of the problem.
She was in a high level of stress, distress and delusion and eventually the doctor prescribed a low level of antipsychotic tranquiller which helped to calm her.
Eventually she agreed to move into a residential home which stopped the problem.
In July 2007, she had a fall and broke her hip which lead to a long stretch in hospital as she contracted C. Difficile. After this stay her dementia had increased and she was no longer able to stand. She is living fairly happily in a nursing home and thriving.
I am so sad that her last years in her own home with her precious independence were ruined and that I could do so little to help or to stop it.
Once the brainwashing of these scams takes hold there is so little that can be done. There needs to be a concerted effort from multiplen agencies, including the post office, but also the GPs, the Police, and Serious Crimes office. The OFT do have wonderful advice but it is useless once the problem has taken hold.
I wish you much success in your campaign and hope that the agencies will work more together to crack this insidious practice.