Adult daughter stole entire life savings

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jeanne in CA, May 26, 2014.

  1. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    I cannot honestly say what I am feeling. l think I am basically just numb. Anger is easier than grief but I simply don't have the energy for anger. Anger and grief would both put me under right now. Most days it feels like I am somewhat emotionally removed from the entire situation, almost like reporting the news. I am sure that is simply a coping mechanism but one I have never experienced before. My greatest anxiety at this point is believing that if I have to see her for any reason I will break apart and not be able to put the pieces back together.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Jeanne, Recovering calls this: FOG

    I found it helped me to name it when I found myself tumbled into it. If I could know where I was, then I could know that, one day, I would come out of it.

    That always involved a great deal of pain ~ an insurmountable kind and amount of pain.

    That is why we pop ourselves into the FOG.

    So we can function in spite of a betrayal so overwhelming we would not be able to stand up at all, if we were to face it head on.

    Still, it helped me to acknowledge that that's where I was.

    It's an almost timeless place.

    I can go back and touch those places to this day.

    It is a blessing, a survival mechanism, that I am so grateful we have. When you are ready, when you have time, then it will clear.

    When you are strong enough to bear it.

    I am sad for you Jeanne, for the pain of it.

    I understand.

    When we brought difficult child daughter in from the streets, I wondered which of the ten thousand highly emotional responses would prevail.

    I loved her, Jeanne.

    I just loved her.

    But it didn't change any of the ways I felt about the things I knew she had done.

    I was awake.

    That is what will happen to you too, I think, when you finally see your child again.

    Put that fear away for this time. You will handle that time when you see her again with sincerity and courage. That is why this is so hard for all of us, here. We are, for the most part, the mothers.

    At that deepest, heart level where we love our children more than ourselves...I don't know. There just isn't any way to incorporate what is happening.

    And all that is left then is love.


    That is what I felt for my child.

    But it wasn't blinding.

    I know what she'd done, knew who she'd declared herself to be.

    Betrayal kills something inside us, prevents us from growing past it, because for the person to have come close enough to who we are to have betrayed us at the deepest level, that is how much we loved and trusted them.

    How does that go?

    We only want those around us as we are dying that we trusted with our mysteries while yet we lived.

    Something like that.

    Elie Wiesel, I think.

    She will survive it, Jeanne.

    In some strange way, she will be grateful that it is over, that the truth has come out, that she can begin again.

    And though you may not know it now? You will still love her.

    So you will have to be very careful, during that time.


    Boom and boom and boom, draining every ounce of strength or courage or hope right out of us.

    Somehow, we keep loving, keep going, keep ourselves open and alive and growing.

    It's a miracle that we can do that, really.

    How shaming, Jeanne. I am so sorry these things happened.

    I think that is how all moms see their children. That is why a mom can believe her child every good thing, forever. It is also why we can't just stop believing in them.

    Those are the dreams that have to die, for us to function in reality.

    I don't know why it has to be so hard.

    I always say this. You may have heard it before, but I really do believe it, Jeanne:

    I have been a fool for lesser things.

    I don't know who said that first. Someone very important, I'm sure. I always hear that Billy Joel song when I thing that, though.


    Oh, Jeanne.

    It is more than we can do, just to open our eyes to what has happened.

    Thank Heaven you did realize what was happening to you.

    Such terrible things, Jeanne.

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  3. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Cedar, thank you so very much for your thoughtful response. I appreciate so much the time you took and the insight you provided me with. In thinking of the term, "fog" I have to admit that it doesn't resonate for me at this point. I was certainly in a fog before when everything was happening and I couldn't see my way out of the morass. Once I discovered what had happened and who was responsible, it was like I stepped into a clearing with a crystalized view of everything. Granted, it was and continues to be devastating, but I could see CLEARLY for the first time in several years. Every question had an answer and the answers were all the same. Our daughter had done it all. The only question remaining today is why, and as time passes, even that seems less important. The psychiatrist I am consulting with told me I would go nuts trying to figure out the why, and I think he is right. Emotionally, I am simply numb, unable to feel much at all except a drive to continue this until whatever the right things happen, whatever they are. Perhaps then, I will feel whatever I need to feel. I believe you when you say by that time, I will be able to bear it. As you suggest, I will put the fear away for now, and have faith that I will be able to deal with eventually seeing her. I know exactly what you mean when you say it is a timeless place, that enables us to go on.
    For us, there are no options, but to go on. If not, she wins everything, and we are determined to keep that from happening. It is kind of like if you find yourself walking in the ocean with your pockets full of rocks, do you let the rocks carry you to the bottom, or do you unload the rocks? We are unloading the rocks. We are determined that the betrayal will not kill us.
    I take comfort in your words that she will survive and at some point, be grateful for the opportunity to start again. I believe the first, I have doubts about the second. I pray you are correct, for if so, not all is lost.
    Perhaps, you are correct, simply accepting what she has done, without making excuses for her and without hading from the truth no matter how ugly, is all I can expect from myself at this point. I am tremenously grateful that I finally discovered it all. Several times a week, I hear from the detective who is working so diligently on the case. Even he, with all his experience, finds it simply astounding.
    Here is another example:
    The August 2, 2011 wedding- In July 2011, while our daughter, her dad and I were in PA, she informed me she was pregnant and she and her then fiance wanted to get married right away. They were engaged by that time so, although her dad and I were not happy about the timing of everything, we supported their decision. We had just closed on the house in PA and she and her dad were not speaking (that was another financial mess that she had been responsible for, the details are in one of the 23 reports I gave to the police) so this latest development didn’t help any. I was extremely upset about the financial and familial problems, the situation between her and her dad, and the additional stress associated with the pregnancy and upcoming nuptials. However, I knew that stressing out would not solve anything so I set about trying to fix things.
    As soon as we returned to CA I took her shopping for a wedding gown. I told her I wanted all the wedding expenses to come out of my checking account because her dad’s account was running low. We went gown shopping all over and finally found one that I thought her dad and I could afford. I remember paying for the gown with a check and actually standing at the register silently praying that the check would not bounce. As soon as she and I came back to our house she showed me a picture of a gown she saw in a magazine that had a beautiful bejeweled cummerbund. The cummerbund alone cost more than the dress I had just bought her. I told her I knew I could make that cummerbund myself if that was what she wanted. She said she did. I duplicated it almost exactly. The only significant difference was that instead of purchasing the jewels necessary to embellish the cummerbund, I embellished hers cummerbund with a beautiful vintage broach of my own and a matching necklace her dad had given me to wear with my mom’s gown when he and I got married. She told me she loved it. As for me, the mother of the bride, I decided to wear a dress I already owned rather than stress out about how I would pay for something new.
    As for the wedding itself, she and her fiance made all the arrangements for it take place in northern CA with only the very immediate family in attendance. Up until two days before the wedding, her dad and she were still not talking. She maintained that if her dad was still mad at her she would absolutely not have him walk her down the aisle. Her dad maintained that that was fine with him. I was sick to death of the antagonism and spoke to them each separately. I told them that they each needed to put their negative feelings aside and see this event for what it was, namely the opportunity for her dad to walk his daughter down the aisle and for her to have her father’s love and support as she married the man she loved. I told them that I believed that they if they did not, they would regret it the rest of their lives. I told them that the wedding would be forever tainted by the memory of her dad not being there with her. Eventually they both acquiesced.
    The day before the wedding I drove her to the wedding cite to make sure everything was in place. We spent the night. The next day she and I spent getting her ready. We have pictures of me fixing her hair, helping her into her gown, and generally doing what mothers of brides do. I thought she looked gorgeous. I was temporarily able to set aside my stress long enough to see her dad walk her down the aisle and be married. I was in tears, of course. Her dad and I took all the guests out to eat after the ceremony and then left for home. The newlyweds were spending the night there and and then driving to their honeymoon location the next day. On the drive back to our home, her dad and and I discussed what a good thing it was that he and she had declared a truce long enough for them to be together at her wedding. He told me I had been right to insist that they reconcile for that special day.
    Maybe I wasn’t right at all. Once I discovered her ongoing financial and identity theft, I found out that the wedding expenses did not come out of my checking account. By that time, she had already stolen so much from that account that there were insufficient funds to pay them. Instead, unbeknownst to either her dad or I, she charged them to his checking account. In addition, once I obtained and analyzed all the relative bank statements, I discovered that the day before the wedding she made out a check to her fiance from my account for $950.00, she signed my name and put a happy face in the memo line. She also wrote herself a check from that same account for $200. That left my account empty.
    Cedar, thank you again for your thoughtful response. There are many words of wisdom there that I will remember.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Jeanne, what happened with the big theft obviously did not happen in a vacuum. Just like so many of us, in hindsight we are shocked to find out that our loved one was a different person than the one the person pretended to be or the one we wanted her/him to be. So we overlook things, which is easy to do when somebody is dear.

    Your wedding story was read with my heavy heart. A time that should have been so happy, and marred by relationship problems and deceit. I am guessing that your daughter was probably more responsible than your husband in their misunderstanding. Maybe it was money related or a comment she took wrong or just him speaking his mind and she didn't like what he said...I don't know. Just guessing. I just know how easy it is to set off PD people off only to have them act like you did something horrible.

    I am so sorry you are going through this with somebody you should be able to trust. Unfortunately, it happens. We are all proof.
  5. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Hi MM, thank you for your words of encouragement. You are absolutely correct in your assumption that the reason my husband and daughter were not speaking at that time was due to her actions.

    We had found out that on the day I closed on the house in PA she had electronically transferred $10,000 out of his bank account into mine "because she knew I was having trouble with my accounts where the money for the house was coming from and didn't want me to have any problems at the closing meeting." My husband was notified by his bank about the $10,000 and assumed I had taken the $10,000 without his permission or knowledge. It created a horrible row at home as you can imagine since I had absolutely no knowledge of it at all. When I told her that her dad and I were fighting about this, she readily admitted what she had done and maintained that she had only done it to "help" me in case a problem arose. She talked to her dad at length and explained it to him, but of course, he was still terribly upset. The only thing that calmed him down was the thought that his $10,000 had gone for the purchase of the PA house and she hadn't just stolen it for her own use.

    The reason we were purchasing a home in PA was so that we could spend extended time with my family who almost all live in the area. My mother had recently passed away and I was devastated at the thought of losing the rest of them as well. I had nearly all of the household goods and furnishing that belonged to my parents and houses were not nearly as expensive there. I was determined that if my husband went along with my wishes on this, that I would purchase the house with my own funds and not jeopardize our financial security in any way. I know that sounds funny since married people don't really have his and her funds, but I had some money that was left to me from my parents, from my unused vacation credit when I retired, etc. it it was important to me that I did not impose on my husband because he had been so good in going along with my plan.

    For that reason, I was determined to return the $10,000 to him because I wanted him to have it back. I promised him that I would return it once I got my bank account straightened out. By that time, I had bank documents showing that his $10,000 was indeed safe in my account, but we now know the documents were fraudulent. She had already stolen so much money from my accounts that she was simply stealing from her dad to try to cover it up. While all of this was going on, and with things were so strained between all of us, she tells us she is pregnant and we have to regroup and start dealing with an upcoming wedding and baby. It was indeed a horrible time.

    I am not a forensic accountant but in examining the legitimate statements from the banks now, it appears that the $10,000 did not actually go into the purchase of the house, but rather, she just transferred it to my account and spent it there like she did with a lot of the rest of our money. All the while she was posing as bankers and CEOS who were "trying to help me get my accounts straightened out." The police are just shaking their heads at the fraudulent emails, business cards, and letters she produced.

    Like I said, she has an endless bag of tricks.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Was your daughter always manipulative and cunning, sort of like a con artist? Trust me, I mean no offense. My son has done some things that would blow your mind. I don't have time to list them all right now. It's just that I'm reading a book called "In Sheeps Clothing" and the stuff these people in the book do (a book about a certain personality disorder type) may be the reason your daughter can do these things and be ok with them. It explains why people who have no conscience, which maybe is one of her issues, do not think like the rest of us nor do they feel remorse. Very interesting read. I see my son in parts of this book.
  7. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Bless your heart, no offense taken. That is an excellent question. I didn't think so but now, in looking back on things, I would say she no doubt was, I just didn't catch it. Neither her dad nor I are stupid, she is just very very good at what she does.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    L pulled the gaslight game on us more than once. The one that sticks in my mind the most is one of the silliest - she had taken my eyebrow pencil. It was an expensive one, and I used it for liner. It was one of those that you turn and it was always at a neat slant from the way I used it. It was almost new.

    Then it was gone. L had been out of brow pencil for a few days and always drew hers in heavily. All of a sudden she's got eyebrow pencil again, and I keep asking for it. She kept telling me that "it must have fallen on the bathroom floor", she always finds hers "back in the toe-kick under the vanity/mirror." She must have said that to me 20 times, and I must just not be looking right. I finally got angry at her and told her that I knew it wasn't there because every time I sat on the toilet I was looking directly at the vanity and the toe-kick and it's not there. 'lo and behold, don't you know that it turned up in the bedroom under the toe kick of the dresser the next day. She was 23 years old and living with us for free all the while getting $3,000 a month from her dad plus a car, insurance, and a gas credit card. Why lie? The girl never washed a pair of undies in the 6 months she lived with us (let alone clean out her shower) she just bought "Five for $20!" at Victoria's Secret every week. We had no clue her ddad was giving her money!
  9. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    We are also easy prey and they usually get away with it, most parents I have heard in meeting refuse to press charges! We don't think along the same lines as they, and because we would never do these things we assume our child would not either.

    Mine stole from me as a child, and as a teen he helped his friends steal from me. I caught a teen several time checking out my home on his bike and confronted him, both times I knew what he was telling me was a lie.

    I left my keys by the door and my son gave them to his 'friends'. Days later when my car was found damaged the other two kids told the officer how my son was involved. The teen boys were robbing people at gunpoint, I was really lucky they only took my car. The officer said he just wanted to let me know that he believed the teens about my son's involvement and he wanted to give me a heads up that I had a serious problem at home. YA THINK???

    With all of that history of deceit I still fell for a con, years later, involving money. Then, one or both, hacked into my computer. All of my personal emails were sent to girlies computer and I was accused of doing it to harass her. That never made sense! Why would I send my personal emails to a person I considered a female version of a devil?

    I confronted my son and told him I would press charges against anyone, regardless, and the investigation showed the emails were coming from the IP address of a computer in the mother's house they were living in. He still denied it and told me how my harassment had caused him so many problems lol. I also informed girlie and her mother. The policeman gave me the number to call the mother at work, he said she needed to know what was going on in her home. He was nice and I could hear in his voice that he was amazed I had fell for all of the BS. This call to the mother made my son tell me I had gotten the mother in trouble and she was going to be fired. All lies, it was a short civil conversation, and she called me on her lunch hour. There was so much more drama.

    All of this melted the final strip of guilt I had for my son's life choices and started me seriously looking after me. It is humbling, embarrassing, and humiliating that it took me so many years to 'wake up'. Deep down I knew the truth, I just wanted it to get better. I had blamed my son's lack of empathy and remorse on the drugs and alcohol. They only made the situation worse, I now believe they didn't actually cause it.

    Don't be surprised if the husband stands staunchly by her side even when all of the evidence proves her guilt. They are master manipulators.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    PS - the eyebrow pencil was worn down to a flat nub by the time it miraculously turned up in the other room at the toe kick of my dresser.
  11. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I have been on the receiving end of some petty theft by my difficult child. He was made to replace the items. What bothered me the most was that he thought I was so stupid that I could not have possibly have figured out that he had done it.
  12. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I found a lot of my things in my sons trunk one time after he went to jail. Jewelry, a bike carrier still in the box, etc.

    I still remember how stunned I was to see those things lying in a pile in his trunk. It was a defining moment.

    The day difficult children dad came home from work and found all of his sports cards strewn all over difficult children bed plus his computer open to a website stating their values was a defining moment for him. difficult child got arrested that day so there was no time to clean up the mess.

    And the crowning blow: he still denies all of it.

    Adding insult to injury.

    The truth, when it hits us full in the face, is stunning. But that is a good day in the whole realm of things. Living in denial is a survival mechanism we do for as long as we HAVE to for our own benefit. Then there comes a day when we are ready to move forward and deal with reality.

    We are truly no match for them and we are often bewildered and blindsided by each new thing that occurs. This the PTSD.

    The next day SO and I went to Home Depot and changed all of the locks, put extra bolts on the doors and changed the garage keypads. I cried the entire time.

    One step at a time.

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  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    M stole my coin collection worth thousands of dollars and used them in vending machines and for school lunches or god knows what. He wasn't keen enough to figure out how to fence them. He left all the pennies, they dont' go into machines. He was just too damned lazy and entitled to do any of the chores we would have paid him to do. Mow the lawn. Walk the dog. I'm talking hundreds of 19th century coins that were in mint condition that I'd purchased or saved over a 15 year period.

    I found that they were gone when we were trying to figure out how to pay for his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and he had been released to an Independent Living program. He refused to apologize then and still hasn't. That was many of his many "I never apologize for anything I do because my reasons are good enough for me" moments. I still can't bring myself to look at the pennies. That's been 12 years.
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is so real it just makes me want to cry.

    For myself, this time.

    I am not having the courage to take too close a look at that part of things. I blamed myself for something like twenty years. I was the mom. Then, I blamed alcohol, drugs, mental illness....

    I get a little FOG feeling about thinking in this new way.

    I don't know what to do with that.

    difficult child daughter has done any number of...of unusual things, all her life.

    difficult child son seemed to change, about the same time we would realize, in retrospect, that he had begun using cocaine.

    "Humbling, embarrassing, humiliating...."


    But these are our children. We are meant to believe the best for and about them until we cannot.

    But, yeah.

    "Humbling, embarrassing, humiliating...."

    I agree. It just seems like such a harsh thing, to believe that it is what it looks like, where the kids are concerned.

    Like, what kind of person am I, to think things like that about my own child?

    "Humbling, embarrassing, humiliating...."

    For me, FOG is what I call the PTSD response. I cannot even think straight.

    One time? When difficult child daughter was still only 14? I was working, then. Someone came in with a new baby girl? And I found I had plastered myself against the wall.

    What a weirdo I must have looked like!!!


    Yes. That is my mantra, too.

    I feel braver, then. We are just so vulnerable to our kids.

    We have had things stolen, too.

    husband knew it was the kids.

    I refused to know it.

    Even now, reading your stories, puts me into FOG a little.

    What a weeny. I have to get real.

    But that's okay.

    Like you said, COM.

    One step at a time is good.

  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, Witz. I'm so sorry. It's not just the monetary value, it's the dream of the things we love and call together in our lives, the who we are, in our hearts, that gets destroyed.

    I was thinking about the joy you must have taken in each coin you added to the collection as the years went by.

    I don't know how any of us made it through this.

  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, SOC. I had used those coins to tell the kids the stories of Mercury and Liberty (standing, walking), buffalo on the plains... This led to the reading of Greek fables and stories of the prairies, and how the buffalo were nearly decimated. All of those coins were part of the good memories we shared, and it didn't feel like there were a lot of those. He stole them for a candy bar or a soda. It still breaks my heart.

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  17. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Witzend, I had to laugh at the eyebrow pencil story. That is so typical and so frustrating. The only difference is that my daughter would have taken a picture of it under the dresser where she said it was and then somehow changed the date stamp on the picture to show it was there precisely at the time when I said it wasn't.

    The coin collection story made me sick because I totally understand how awful that must have been and how much it still hurts. It is simply incomprehensible.

    Tiredof33- I understand how hard it is for parents to press charges, especially if drugs and alcohol are contributing factor in the conduct. Luckily, we were not faced with a difficult decision. We figured first, we had to press charges or pay the bills. Paying the bills was not an option because she had stolen everything we had. Second, if she went on to steal from others and we did not press charges, we would be complicit in that additional theft. Third, she just needs to be held accountable. Of course, given that she had stolen so MUCH money, we didn't have the agony of trying to decide if we could really go through with it. The shame and humilliation are unbearable as I am sure you know. I hope her husband does the right thing, given that he is a cop. Only time will tell. On this for sure, she is a master manipulator but I cannot imagine anyone falling for more of her lies once he hears the entire story from the police.

    Pasajes4- I think there is an element of our difficult children thinking we are stupid, but I also think they believe they can talk their way out of most anything. But even more shocking in our case is the fact that any questionable behavioral evidence, (and there really was not much if any), was totally overwhelmed by the physical evidence she provided showing that all our money was safe and sound where it was supposed to be.

    COM- I can really identify with your son's denial even in the face of physical evidence. We are facing the same thing. I am not sure even jail will turn them around but at least they are somewhaat safe and not harming others. You are so right, we are truly no match but I am going to do everything I can to get the right outcome for everyone.

    Below is yet just one more example of my charming difficult child:

    Our granddaughter's birth (late 2011) -My daughter and I spent hours upon hours preparing for the baby’s birth. Her husband was working so she shopped for baby things and decorated the baby’s room. They knew they were expecting a girl so she and I set about getting the room furnished and decorated. I made pastel pink curtains for the large window with rhinestone tiebacks. I decorated a mirror to hang over the changing table. My husband brought over the beautiful crib we had bought for our daughter when she was born and set it up in the room for them. I made the quilt and bumper pads as well as the pads for the rocker she and her husband had bought for that room. Our daughter wanted a pink tutu for around the bottom of the crib so I bought the fabric and made that as well. They needed a dresser for that room so I found one on Craigs list and she and I drove an hour one way to pick it up. I am a porcelain doll maker so let my daughter pick out the doll of her choice to put in the room along with a decorative pink and gold china plate that belonged to my mother. My daughter and I also picked out yards and yards of flannel so I could make monogrammed baby blankets and burp cloths for the baby.
    Thanksgiving fell on the 24th of November that year. I cooked dinner for about 23 of my husband's family and everyone joined us that afternoon. Right after we ate that evening, our daughter said she wasn’t feeling well so she and her husband left to stop by the hospital and see if she might be in labor. She called me about 8 pm and said they had admitted her. We shooed everyone out of the house and drove directly to the hospital. My daughter had asked me if I could be in the delivery room with her and her husband. The baby was born around seven in the morning. She was a beautiful baby and everyone was so happy. That night, my husband and I went back to the hospital and brought a full Thanksgiving dinner to the new parents, complete with linen napkins and china and my best silver. We watched the baby in the room with them while they ate their meal.
    After they came home, I stayed with them for a couple of days to let them rest and to help out at the house.
    After I discovered our daughter's ongoing financial and identity theft, I was able to see that in less of a month after giving birth,she was back to stealing money from her dad’s and my accounts. Starting with December 20, 2011, she wrote herself a check from my checking account and cashed it. On December 23, 2011, while she and and her husband and the baby were in PA with us for Christmas, she took out a “CashnetUSA” payday loan in her dad's name. On December 24th, we all went together to Christmas Eve services at our family church. Regardless of all the ongoing stresses 2011 had brought, I remember feeling so blessed to have my daughter, son-in-law- and new baby with us that night. Christmas Day was a Sunday. Our annual family Christmas party was on Monday so she took that day off from stealing our money. By Tuesday, December 27, 2011, she was back at it. She went online and took out an “Everest Cash Advance” payday loan in her dad's name.
  18. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    She sure has a lot of tricks. How in the world could she get a loan in her dad's name? They would require her ID when she took out the loan. Not that you have that answer , I'm just shocked she was able to get a loan in a male name.

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  19. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Hi Hopeless, that was easy. She just went online and set an account in his name. She used her own contact information but they never bothered to check. It is frightening how easy.
  20. jeanne in CA

    jeanne in CA Member

    Hi Hopeless, that was easy. She just went online and set an account in his name. She used her own contact information but they never bothered to check. It is frightening how easy.