I Lost My Family’s Savings After Falling for 2 Scams Last Year

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-time employee in my 60s. I live with my husband, who’s in his 60s, my daughter, who’s in her 30s, and my mother-in-law, who’s in her 80s. I fell for two different online scams last year, one in spring and another at the end of the year.

I found websites on my smartphone that lured me with its great deals and fell for the scam.

I spent my money, my family’s savings, as well as my daughter’s savings. I realized they were scams, so I’m currently working with my lawyer to deal with the situation.

I know I deserve it because it’s my fault for being scammed.

However, I feel really bad for my family and I don’t know what to do now that the money is gone. I’m distressed because of this every day. It has even affected my physical health.

I don’t know how to feel or how I should live my life from now on. Please give me some advice and help me.

— P, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. P:

Why were you scammed twice? You were trying to get back the money you lost the first time around, weren’t you? It is standard practice for scammers to try and exploit a person’s insecurities. I would like you to always keep in the mind the phrase, “There are no easy ways to make money in this world.”

For your family’s sake, what you should do is make sure you’re not scammed again.

First of all, if using your smartphone led to falling for the scams, why don’t you rethink using it? How about switching to a flip phone? Or not use a mobile phone at all?

Second, take the problems caused by the scams seriously. I think you should write down everything that happened in detail. Include such information as at what stage you fell for the scams and how you felt as well as what exactly tricked you. Also, write down if the first and second scams were the same or different. There must be information about the scams that only you know. Write them down and think them over.

After going through this process, you will get a sense of relief if you can figure out what you believed too easily that made you fall for the scams. You will probably never fall victim to fraud again. You will need to study basic economics and understand how it works in the real world to protect yourself. Don’t waste your time being depressed.

— Yoko Sanuki, lawyer