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To Catch a Scam Artist — Home Health Nurse Saves the Day

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Dec 23, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Residential in the Real World

When Residential Home Health nurse Danielle heard her patient on the phone with a financial scammer, she sprang into action to expose the threat.More often than not, the victories that Residential Home Health nurses and therapists celebrate with their patients happen slowly, after days and weeks of hard work and support. These patient successes can be life-changing, although they may be harder to recognize because they happen bit by bit.

Another kind of success story is the thrilling save in the nick of time, like a medication oversight that causes a life-threatening blood clot. Today’s story is one of these thrillers — albeit not a health save. When Danielle, a Residential Home Health nurse and case manager, happened to hear her patient’s phone call, she sprang into action to protect his finances from a predatory stranger.

A Red-Flag Conversation

The patient was back at home after being injured by a fall. While in the hospital, he had also been newly diagnosed with diverticulitis. Residential Home Health was providing therapy and nursing for assistance with medication safety, anticoagulation dosing, management of peripheral vascular disease, and fall prevention/home safety. Danielle was filling in for a colleague and arrived at the patient’s home for a visit.

The patient was flustered when he let Danielle in, talking on the phone about getting to the bank to take out a large cashier’s check. She waited for the call to end and asked the patient what was happening. He explained that a man had been phoning him regularly, claiming to be from the U.S. Treasury, Publisher’s Clearing House, and the Attorney General. Using the name of a spokesperson at Publisher’s Clearing House, the mystery caller claimed that if the patient would send a cashier’s check for $28,000, he would receive a check back for $3 million to share with his family and give away to charity.

Sniffing Out a Scam

Danielle recognized this phone ‘campaign’ for the scam it was. Seniors are often the targets of financial scams, and the majority of these scams are done over the phone. Callers may pretend to be from the government, a financial institution, or a sweepstakes; they may claim that a payment is overdue, or offer a huge payout for the price of an initial ‘investment.’ When put on the spot, seniors may be compelled to take the deal or correct the phony error, and can send away thousands of dollars or provide secure information that exposes them to identity theft. (Click here for more information on common scams and tips to protect yourself and your loved ones.)

Exposing the Threat

With the patient’s permission, Danielle called the mystery man back, explained who she was, and requested further information on the financial and legal aspects of the transaction. The scammer let out a tirade of verbal insults and just as quickly hung up the phone. While carefully explaining aspects of fraud, Danielle encouraged her patient to forward any further phone calls or requests for money to his personal lawyer. She took further steps to protect the patient by contacting the state Attorney General’s office and filing a complaint on his behalf. Finally, Danielle contacted the legitimate Publisher’s Clearing House representative and explained the potential fraud scheme invoking his name and institution.

The patient was very grateful, as he had been so overwhelmed and pestered by this scam artist’s continuous phone calls and demands. Danielle’s actions and follow-up not only helped her patient escape financial loss at the hands of a scam artist, but may have been instrumental in protecting other seniors from this costly scheme.

No matter what your health challenge, Residential Home Health offers a range of services to help you work toward your health goals safely at home. Call (888)930-WELL (9355) to discuss your specific situation with a Home Care Specialist today, or click the image below to take our 60-second, 15-question Home Care Assessment.

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Topics: Real World Stories, Financial Health