Kiwi man's warning after tradie scams elderly mother out of more than $100,000

  • 15/06/2022

A Kiwi man has issued a warning after his 90-year-old mum was extorted out of a large sum of money by a handyman working on her house.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the man agreed to share the family's story with AM amid Elder Abuse Awareness Week.

Two elderly people are victims of abuse every day in Auckland alone - and that's just the number reported to Age Concern.

The victim's son told AM host Melissa Chan-Green the scamming started about two years ago. He said the alleged scammer was working next door when he approached his mother to offer his services.

"We thought nothing of it but she's the sort of person that would say, 'Now, come on through, I've got this hedge out the back' and not thinking anything further about it."

The alleged scammer then started telling the woman he needed money to move into a new flat.

"He would pick her up and take her to the cash machine, TAB - putting money straight in his account."

The man said it took the family about six months to realise what was going on.

He said he felt "sick" about the alleged scammer.

"We were not aware of it and it didn't matter how vigilant you were... [we] just didn't know."

While the man didn't want to say the exact amount extorted from his mother, he said it had ticked over $100,000.

Speaking to AM on Wednesday, Age Concern Auckland chief executive Kevin Lamb said this story wasn't an isolated one.

"Sadly, it's very, very common," he said. 

Lamb said about half of the elder abuse cases Age Concern dealt with involved financial motivation.

"What we always say to people is: just be aware of what's happening to the older people in your lives; your family, your relatives, old people in your community," he said.

"Try to reach out to them; try to make sure they're not isolated, they're not alone; try to get support for them as soon as possible.

"The earlier we can get involved, the better chance we have of stopping that abuse carrying on."

National Age Concern figures show that 83 percent of elder abuse cases are psychological and 40 percent financial.