For the past 20 years, I’ve had to listen to Dad carry on about old people and how they get ripped off all the time because they don’t ask questions, make any calls to verify, or just hand over their hard-earned savings to someone who apparently is going to reshingle their home for pennies or some other odd job. Older folks who don’t understand the internet and computers all that well also get ripped off easily. Dad just rolls his eyes every time there’s a story on the news about a new scam that some old fart fell for. He says, “Were they born yesterday, for God’s sake? How can anyone with half a brain fall for that shit?” One older man who got duped was a college professor, for goodness sake! I don’t remember the scam now, but he fell for it and lost all of his savings. Dad really had a conniption fit over that one!
Fast forward to 2019, just a mere week before Christmas. Dad gets something in the mail from El Paso, TX. He was intrigued because he used to live there, as did his brother and we still have family and friends there. It’s from a collection agency demanding Dad pay for a parking ticket he received over 20 years ago. The paper stated he owed $91.00 and that any action would be taken to secure those funds, including if necessary, a lien on his vehicle.
The problem was in the information on this paper. The ticket was issued when Dad was not even in El Paso. In fact, it was during the time he was most definitely here in Missouri because he was busy locating a house for us to move into, securing the loan, and then moving the majority of our possessions in. The kids and I were staying with my sister at the time waiting for the house to be ready. Another problem was that the vehicle ticketed was a Toyoto. Dad has NEVER in his life driven a Toyota! He drove a Ford Ranger during that time up until he sold it, probably 8 years ago or so. He tried to find the old papers (purchase contracts, registration, licensing, etc.) because the license plate number didn’t sound familiar to either of us. We always memorized our plates just in case someone stole one of our vehicles. Since he sold the truck I’ve forgotten the plate BUT it would have rang a bell because I’m not that far gone! He couldn’t find anything to prove it wasn’t his truck.
I told him he needed to make a phone call and have someone look into it because it could have been an error. He bitched at me about how “the collection agency isn’t going to look into it because it’s not their job” and I had to clarify. “Dad, I know the collection agency won’t look into it but if you call the city of El Paso or DMV maybe they could look it up in their database and just maybe they’ll see that some idiot entered the wrong info or something.” I added, “You don’t know if you don’t call.”
After over a week of trying to find papers, he just said, “I’m just going to pay this fine. It’s easier.” I said, “Dad, you complain all the time about how old people get duped and you’re just going to pay it??” He said, “It’s only $91.00!”
I just threw my hands up and left the room. Good grief!