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How Can We Deal With Scam Debt My Husband With Lewy Body Dementia Has? – Joan

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

My husband, 81 years old, has acquired credit card debt around $50,000.

He is involved with a Nigerian money scam.

His actions have caused him to receive neurological testing – the diagnosis is Lewy Body with AD, Vascular dementia.

Can debt be discharged because it was caused by dementia? Resources are low, and credit record was at 800 before involvement with the scam.



Dear Joan,

For those who are unfamiliar with Lew Body Dementia they should read this. You must be dealing with a lot of issues right now. I’m so sorry you are facing all of this. I know how much of a struggle this can be.

My advice might seem extreme here but bear with me. If you are confident that this is the only debt and it is only on one credit card, then you might want to hire a local attorney who is licensed in your state and challenge the mental status of your husband at the time the account was opened.

The other approach would be to clear the deck and close the door on this and any other surprise debt that might have originated from his situation. In that case you should talk to a local bankruptcy attorney about your husband filing bankruptcy. A bankruptcy case would be able to stop any additional creditors from being able to take further legal action, even if you are unaware of them now. And I would not be surprised if you found more.

Both approaches are valid and both have a cost associated with them.

My concern at this point is it would be easy for him to apply for credit in your name or jointly to accomplish some goal in borrowing to meet another scam.

While I’m generally not a fan of putting a freeze on credit reports, in this case I am. You can learn more about credit freezes here. If any future creditor requires a credit report prior to extending you credit, then the freeze would put a hurdle in place so your husband doesn’t open new credit.

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I would put the freeze on in your name and his name.

In addition, I would put your checkbook someplace where your husband can’t find it, keep a close eye on your bank statement, and take his credit and debit cards away from easy access.

I am in no way insinuating that your husband is devious and a bad man. What I am stating is the confusion and cloudiness of dementia can cause good people to do irrational and irresponsible things.

My cautiousness over your credit moving forward is a concern about the effects of the dementia. And trust me, I’ve dealt with similar issues before.

So if you want to really put a lid on things, I would also keep him off the phone to avoid the telemarketers and subscription sellers who would love to get him to make financial promises on the phone.

Dealing with this will be a pain but nowhere near the emotional trauma of watching someone you love vanish before you.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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