People with dementia might be in danger from telephone scams. The U.K.'s got a neat fix.

Richard Guthrie, 92, said he took the scammer's phone calls because he was lonely.

In 2007, the New York Times covered a spate of phone scams targeting the elderly. Guthrie, a widower and Purple Heart veteran, was one of them. In the end, he lost all of his savings — including the money he was planning to give to his great-grandkids for college — to telephone scams.

Unfortunately, Guthrie's case isn't unique. Senior citizens lose about $2.9 billion each year (each year!) from financial scams and abuse, according to a 2011 report by MetLife.


Image via iStock.

There are a number of reasons scammers target the elderly. They often have savings, for instance, and can be reluctant to contact the authorities if they are victims.

Even more dastardly, scammers often target people with dementia. The medical condition hits more than 1 in 20 seniors, taking a heavy toll on them and their caretakers — before having to worry about scammers.

So wouldn't it be great if there were a simple solution to all this?

The United Kingdom has a pretty interesting idea on how to stop the calls altogether.

On April 6, the U.K. announced it would fund the rollout of a call-blocking device to about 1,500 people, according to the The Guardian.

The small device, known as trueCall, plugs in between a phone and wall outlet. Once installed, it can block recorded messages, silent calls, or calls from unknown numbers.

The initial rollout will go to people such as dementia patients who have been identified by their doctor as especially vulnerable.

“We have seen people tricked out of thousands of pounds by scam callers, and this government is determined to clamp down on their activities once and for all,” Prime Minister Theresa May said while announcing the fund.

This is could be a big "take that!" at granny-defrauding, savings-stealing scammers.

Nobody deserves to have their life savings whittled away — not people who should be entering their golden years, like Guthrie, and especially not people and families who are already shouldering the toll dementia can take.

Hopefully, this new solution will help those 1,500 families breathe a little easier.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

Keep Reading Show less

Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

Keep Reading Show less