Romance Scam? Man Behaves Like an Obsessed Suitor Toward 70-Year-Old Woman

This Original Poster has something to really worry about!

A male neighbor may be eyeing her aged mother for a romance scam. Unscrupulous characters have been victimizing elderly people, robbing whatever wealth they may still have and leaving them penniless and heartbroken.

Photo: YouTube/Toronto Police Service

According to the OP with the username u/Anniemaniac, who posted her mom’s story on Reddit’s r/relationships, “My mum is physically and mentally disabled. She relies on a wheeled walker to get around but isn’t fully stable and has had falls in the past. She’s also schizophrenic with early-stage dementia. Hence, she’s exceptionally vulnerable both physically and mentally. She moved into a new flat about 2 months ago and one of her upstairs neighbours, a male in his 40s, seems to be taking an unusual interest in her.”

OP said that she had met the guy whom she calls Bob in this post, and she’s been quite uncomfortable about how he would gaze at her 70-year-old mother as if there were only the two of them in the world. Every time OP would try to talk to him, Bob would not answer and simply focus on her mom’s face without breaking eye contact.

Photo: YouTube/Toronto Police Service

Whenever he saw them, he would stop OP and her mom and appear to be hanging on every word that came out of her mouth, even though what OP’s mom said made no sense due to her mental condition. Bob would also accept and deliver her mom’s packages to her, in spite of their neighbors usually collecting parcels in the communal entry. Yes, Bob has been behaving like he has a deep crush on OP’s mother — which was hard to believe considering their age and her mom’s debilitating illness.

For a while, OP considered that Bob might be autistic, but his friendliness was unusual. And she grew even more concerned because of a recent incident: “Yesterday, I left my mother’s property around 4 pm, then returned around 90 minutes later to drop off a prescription, and I found her all flustered and irritable. She told me that Bob had rung her doorbell steaming drunk asking to be let in. He claimed he forgot his fob. Because the flats are so small and closely packed, you can hear when someone rings a neighbour’s bell. According to my mum, he didn’t try anyone else’s bell; he went straight to hers. Now, he knows my mum is very physically disabled, so it seemed strange he’d ring her bell. Her two other neighbours are in their 40s and physically fit, so why not ring them? I feel like most people would try to avoid bothering an elderly disabled person.”

Photo: YouTube/Toronto Police Service

Morever, Bob’s reason made no sense to OP since there were other ways to get spare keyfobs that have been made available in the building. Following this incident, OP’s mom told her the next day that Bob left a bunch of flowers at the door. He seemed to have placed them on the wreath that’s hanging on the door in the middle of the night since anyone doing so in the daylight would easily be discovered.

OP couldn’t hold back from revealing her worries: “I feel like something’s wrong here, and I’m not sure what to do about it. Can anyone advise on what might be going on, and what action, if any, I should take? I almost feel like he’s grooming her. I’ve spoken to my mum about this and explained his behaviour feels off, but she got offended because she liked the flowers and thinks they were an apology for his drunkenness last night. I honestly can’t tell if this is just a potentially autistic individual who isn’t aware of the social etiquette of certain things or if this is something more sinister.”

Photo: YouTube/Toronto Police Service

“How do I approach this? Do I speak to him? Do I inform someone of my concerns (I don’t know his name or flat number)? My gut is telling me something’s wrong, but I have no idea what to do.” These were OP’s last words in her anxious post.

Redditors were quick to give her emotional support and advice. OP readily purchased a camera as a precautionary measure, as suggested by some Redditors.

Here are several responses that OP received, which are warning her of various types of elder abuse:

ModerateSympathy wrote, “Similar to the other commenter, my first thought was a romance/friendship scam. Unfortunately, too many people try to take advantage of older people in order to gain access to their money. It could be stealing physical credit cards or the credit card number, trying to get access to bank accounts, or getting her to purchase things for him/give him money…the list goes on. He could think that she’s an easy target. I would encourage her to not allow him in her home ever and that she should not let him know that she controls her own finances. Maybe even add in a story around a close, protective relative who works in law enforcement. Really anything that will make her less of a target. Of course, there are other possibilities, she could remind him of a lost relative or something. But better to protect yourselves than not.”

Photo: YouTube/Toronto Police Service

A comment from coconutmilc says, “He might want to use her failing factories to take advantage of her financially. If he presents himself as a suitor and is able to woo her (a young 40-something romantically approaching a 70-year-old woman may make her feel very special/wanted), then he’ll start gaining access to her bank accounts and such, especially if legally she is still in control of her own money. If she is not, then I’d go back to the idea of him wanting her prescriptions.”

Meanwhile, I_AM_FERROUS_MAN suggested, “In the US, you can get help (in certain states) by getting a prescription strong box / dispenser. It gets refilled by delivery every month and can only let you access the pills for each day. It’s really helpful for keeping people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, drug abuse, etc from taking too many pills or losing them. Whether this is his angle or not, I would consider seeing if that’s an option with the NHS (or I think that’s what it is called).”

Support Research & Therapy

Help those with Autism and their families at The Autism Site for free!