It’s natural to be worried when you think a close family member is being scammed. But it’s often quite difficult to intervene without causing offence. Such was the scenario with a client of ours, Connor, who suspected his father, Michael, was being “ripped off” by a young gold digger.

Connor’s mother had died 4 years ago and Michael took it badly, almost becoming reclusive. He didn’t go out to the pub any more, instead preferring to drink at home alone. Connor didn’t believe his Dad’s life was over at 67 and tried his best to get him to socialise. But no amount of coaxing would encourage Michael to interact with friends or family.

However, one day Connor arrived for a visit and was surprised that Michael had booked a trip to Thailand.  He said a group of his friends had invited him and it was time for him to join the world again. Connor hugged his dad and was very happy that finally Michael had come out of his shell.

When a family member is being scammed online perhaps….

3 months later things weren’t looking so good.  Having been on the trip Michael returned a new man but there was an underlying tension.  He’d spent a fortnight in Thailand and came back with masses of photographs in which he and his friends appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Connor didn’t recognise any of the friends, which was unusual since he knew most of the people who associated with his father.  When he asked who they were, Michael said they were people he’d met online. There were also several snaps of Michael with a very young, attractive woman who apparently was the daughter of a bar owner according to Michael.

Connor’s main concern was that his father was happy and he certainly appeared to be apart from the odd occasion when Michael looked worried. Connor’s wife, Jane, was the first to suggest something that hadn’t crossed anyone’s mind.  Had Michael gone to Thailand looking for a wife? Most family members said that it just wasn’t in Michael’s character to do that. But considering that he had gone abroad with people he’d met online, and therefore didn’t know, wasn’t in character either.

Investigation

So 3 months after the holiday, Connor did something he wasn’t proud of.  He went to Michael’s house when he knew he would be out. Next to the computer he saw some bank statements showing that thousands of pounds in cash had been withdrawn with alarming regularity.  It was easy to access Michael’s email because he never turned the computer off and didn’t use a Microsoft password. The email was collected by Windows Live Mail too so password were automatically saved.  There was a huge amount of email correspondence between a woman called Naiyana and his father.  Some of it contained more sexually explicit information than Connor wanted to know but Naiyana kept referring to Michael as “my husband”. Furthermore, Naiyana was arriving next month to come and live with “my husband”! There were several photo attachments too some of which might have been better placed in a porn magazine.  She looked about 18 years old!

This explained the worried looks Connor had noticed. His father wasn’t a rich man but by Thai standards he probably appeared so.  And just when exactly was he going to tell his family that a new wife, young enough to be his granddaughter was about to arrive?

Confrontation

A couple of days later, several members of the family went to visit Michael and Connor raised the subject.  He apologised for looking through his father’s private correspondence but said he was worried about him. Michael was outraged at first but calmed down and said he had married a Thai girl who genuinely loved him.  Hard though it may seem for them to believe, he had met her in a bar and they just clicked.  He’d spend most of his holiday with her. Connor knew this wasn’t true because he had seen the email confirming his father’s “Thai Wedding Package” booking.

On the financial side, Michael said it was normal for foreign husbands to help support a Thai wife’s family and he was happy to do that.

No one was happy and they variously said so. Most were outraged and said that it was their duty to do something when a family member is being scammed. Michael said he was looking forward to introducing his new wife to them and they either accepted or didn’t. Whilst he appreciated that concerned people do try to help when a family member is being scammed it didn’t apply to him.

It took weeks for Connor to persuade Michael to ask Naiyana to take a lie detector test when she arrived. He sold Michael on the idea by saying it would prove that Naiyana wasn’t a gold digger. It would also stop the wagging tongues “there’s no fool like and old fool”.

Naiyana agreed to the lie detector test which was conducted in one of our controlled offices in Ireland.  It proved she had never asked for money, and that her interest in Michael was not materialistic.  We wish them well.

Do you think your family member is being scammed?

You can rely on the polygraph examiners at Lie Detector Test Ireland to treat your matter with sensitivity, discretion and confidentiality. If you think a family member is being scammed or anyone else for that matter that you care about, contact us today.

*Names of our client and people involved have been changed for the purposes of confidentiality

 

What to do if you think a Family Member is being Scammed
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