Tommy Benningfield lives with his daughter in the same house as his mother Carolyn in Warner Robins. But with his own family and job to worry about, he couldn't help his mother out of losing her entire life savings before it was too late.
RELATED: Warner Robins Womans Loses $800,000 in Online Scam
Earlier this year, when his mother told him she had met a man on match.com, he didn't think much of it. He seemed fine on the surface and Tommy gave him the benefit of the doubt when he asked his mother for money when he says he lost his luggage on a business trip. "You know, I understand that does happen," he says.
But as time passed, Tommy began to realize something might be wrong. He works a night shift, and only heard bits and pieces of his mother's stories of the man asking for more money. But then, "next thing you know things started sounding outrageous as far as the monies he was requesting."
In the end, his mother had lost $800,000, her entire life savings, too late for Tommy to help: "It snowballed bigger and faster than I thought it was, and then I got hit with ... It's all gone."
With separate bank accounts, he's never had a reason to monitor his mother's money flow, but the issue raises questions for what's often called "the sandwich generation," adult children with their own responsibilities and children of their own, but also aging parents in their lives.
Dr. Susan Durr at Macon State College teaches Psychology and says it's important for middle aged children and their parents to have a relationship where they can be able to talk adult to adult.
"If children do see yellow caution blinking lights, they have to be in a relationship with them to be able to monitor and begin to be aware of what's going on."
As for Benningfield, he says while he's upset about what happened, he is supporting his mother. He says both he and his mother always help out friends in need, and that it's unfortunate that the scammer took advantage of her caring nature.
"Yeah, you're upset, you're frustrated, and a little mad, but at the same time, you've got to be there for the family."
The Benningfields says the FBI told them their case in considered "open" but not "active." Carolyn says her other son in Florida and her relatives in Kentucky have all been very supportive.
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