How My Elderly Client Lost $1.3 Million

You think only "other people" fall for scams? Guess again. The crooks are sharper than you think, and seniors are often easy prey.

I didn't get home until close to midnight, but the message on my voice mail jolted me wide-awake. One of my largest clients was wiring $270,000 to NatWest Bank in London. The brokerage was calling just to make sure the wire was okay.

Instantly, all the pieces clicked together: My client was being scammed! For months, he had told me about a big inheritance he expected. He was a wealthy professional, and he came from a successful family, so that didn’t seem overly surprising. But he had refused to answer questions about the inheritance -- and slowly I grew suspicious.

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Steven Goldberg
Contributing Columnist,
Steve has been writing for Kiplinger's for more than 25 years. As an associate editor and then senior associate editor, he covered mutual funds for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine from 1994-2006. He also authored a book, But Which Mutual Funds? In 2006 he joined with Jerry Tweddell, one of his best sources on investing, to form Tweddell Goldberg Investment Management to manage money for individual investors. Steve continues to write a regular column for and enjoys hearing investing questions from readers. You can contact Steve at 301.650.6567 or