Videos & Stories
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Catalogues based abroad are causing financial misery to millions of elderly & vulnerable people.
Scroll down to read stories written by family members of “Chronic” victims
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A.Y. from the South of England
Alison from the south of England contacted Think Jessica with this story. Her story, below, is a straight copy from her email. My father started being drawn into the scam prize draws and everything else that follows it not long after my mother passed away. Until that point in time he had not been in charge of the budget although he had always been the bread winner.
When mother passed away I think he was searching for attention in a way that he wanted people to love him, I think it is quite sad because we already did but perhaps the loss he felt needed some sort of replacement to take away the pain.
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.
Barbara Anne H
My family have been struggling for just over two years now, just as you describe, over scam mail and phonecalls to my mother. Last week, before I was told of this website, I wrote, out of shear frustration, anger and desperation, a letter to the Court of Protection and to Jaqui Smith, Home Secretary, copy to all professionals involved with my mother (who have not been able to progress Power of Attorney very far over the last 8 months, and we have been warned by the fraud office that we may not get it) to ask for a special investigation to be set up to look at this sort of scam from all angles, since no-one seems to be able to act.
What horrifies our family is that the fraud office tells us that they know that the money goes to terrorrism and drug-dealing, which is the last thing my mother would think of supporting because she still believes she is a committed Christian although her actions no longer conform to her belief. In our experience there is utter ruthless evil behind these particular scams.
D.H. from Derbyshire
D.H. from Derbyshire met the Think Jessica team whilst they were conducting a survey. His story, below, highlights some problems created by legitimate direct marketing mail. I am also 83 like Jessica and I have probably bought about one hundred books from Readers Digest. Probably 80% will remain unread, because I have no interest in there content.
I will continue to buy more books, because the people at Readers Digest are really friendly and I am sure I will receive a cash prize quite soon.
Debbie R from Yorkshire
Debbie R from Yorkshire contacted Think Jessica having seen a piece about scam mail on BBC Breakfast News programme. Her story was sent to Think Jessica by email. At the age of 85, my Father had been enjoying a long, comfortable and secure retirement, having been a hard working, and ultimately very successful, businessman. The scam letters started in May 2005, followed a short time later by scam telephone calls. Both had the same aim; to take advantage of, and rob, my Father. Which is just what they did, around £54,000 is what they stole from him over a two year period.
Once he had responded to the first, volumes rapidly increased until he was receiving up to 100 per day. The more he responded to, the more it seems he was sent. The volume of paperwork initially took over the kitchen table, then included the dining table, and within a short time every available surface in the house was covered with bundles awaiting opening, others opened awaiting a response and those that he was actively working through.
Julia from Chesterfield
Julia from Chesterfield contacted the Think Jessica team having had a preview of our web site.
My father died on Rememberance Day 2005 aged 94yrs, he had been receiving scam mail for many months, sending cheques for £50 a time to receive his so called Lottery win from Canada, of course he never received a penny. He was also getting regular letters from Clairvoyants who claimed someone was wanting to contact him through them, send them money and they would foward the information to him, he wrote many cheques to them but never got any information.
Here Melanie tells her mothers story (with permission)
Once settled, Margaret threw herself into her new life – she went to concerts and the theatre, carried on singing in two choirs and continued to see old friends and make new ones. However, the whole process had taken its toll and her health had begun to fail.
Mr Rodgers contacted Think Jessica after hearing about Jessica during a media interview.
Myself, my brother and sister told him they were scams but he would not listen and he would just say “wait til that BMW turns up on my drive or til that cheque drops through the post”. However all that did drop through the post was increasing amounts of bogus mail and trinkets of the cheapest bracelets and watches etc. This went on for some time but he would still not listen to what we were saying, he was also replying to the bogus clairvoyants such as Stallones mum and others I care to forget. Of course each time he replied he was sending money.
Mr Venn from Bristol
Mr. Venn from Bristol contacted the Think Jessica team having read about Think Jessica in a newspaper.
In 1986 my father was living in Bath I noticed he was getting vast amounts of mail, but thought it was just junk mail.
Mrs Lee T-P
Mrs Lee T-P, contacted the Think Jessica team having seen Think Jessica on GMTV on the day the web site was launched.
My Nan was scammed out of over £40k by these vile letters.
Pensioner responding to scam letters for over 10 years
Hi, I don’t know if you can advise me or not. However, I have come to the end of what I can do for my Mother and send this email in an effort to inform you that this heinous crime continues and that my advising you may help your campaign to put pressure on our newly elected government to stop this dreadful crime, which continues to effect those most vulnerable and least able to defend themselves. Nobody can stop this!
Last week, in order to comply with the wish of one scammer, she went into her bank requesting £1M and expected the bank to give it to her! This evening, she called me to ask which ‘brand new car’ she should opt for as a choice of 2 was available, and all she had to do was send-off £19.
Sandra O from Warwickshire
Sandra O from Stratford upon Avon, contacted the Think Jessica team having had a preview of our web site. Two years ago I found that my father (now 81 years old) had been sucked in by scammers and was spending his life savings in the belief that he had truly ‘won’ the prizes they promised him. Some 4 years previously he had responded to a scam letter and his details were added to suckers’ lists, and the problem began to snowball.
I had been concerned for sometime about the amount of outgoing post – mainly to Holland and the USA. I challenged him a number of times as to the reason and content. Each time he assured me the post was genuine and that he was not including money.
Suzanne R. from the home counties
Suzanne R. from the home counties contacted Think Jessica after hearing the launch of the campaign on local radio I am a tax consultant. A few years ago it became apparent that an elderly client (In her 80’s then) was being scammed. A mercy dash of over 100 miles from the home counties to East Sussex by both myself and her Independent Financial Advisor failed to convince her that the cash would never come. I still remember vividly her tears when we arrived. When she had lived locally to me I had taken time out once every few months to have tea with her on a weekend to satify myself that all her needs were being taken care of so we had a good relationship based on trust and caring.
Meanwhile, she was getting through about £3,000 each month replying to the requests. The phone calls were becoming increasingly persistent and had her running to the post office and her bank to transfer funds more quickly than the postal system would permit. I registered both her address and telephone number in a vain attempt to reduce the volume of post and phone calls. She had no children to protect her and her wider family knew nothing or were powerless to stop her. Her health deteriorated and she is now in full time care and, thankfully, out of harms way.