Claire Lyon, a 29-year-old from East Hull, has been jailed for stealing a £60,000 pension payout from her mother. Patricia Lyon, a 63 year old from East Hull, had received the money after her husband died following a car accident. And while pretending to help her bereaved mum, Claire started stealing from her. In the end, Patricia had just 89p in the bank.
But what can we learn from this?
TheftAccording to the Daily Mail, Patricia asked her daughter for help after her husband died in 2009. He had always handled the finances, so Patricia didn't have any idea what do do about money. She trusted her daughter to handle it for her, so she handed over her bank card and PIN.
The Hull Daily Mail reported that Claire started stealing the money a month after her father's death, and covered her tacks by altering bank statements with tipex. She also called her mother pretending to be a bank employee in order to convince her nothing was awry. And eventually rang pretending to be the fraud office - trying to throw suspicion onto her brother.
She was eventually caught when her mother tried to withdraw spending money for a holiday - her first break since her wedding trip to Dorset with her husband. She was told she only had 89p left in her account. Claire Lyon was sentenced to 19 months in prison.
What can we learn?Clearly this is a distressing story: it's also one which holds three essential lessons we all need to take away from it, so that we don't run the risk of falling victim to this sort of crime.
1. Never tell anyone your PIN or give them your card.It may seem convenient, and you may trust them entirely, but there's always a better alternative. If you hand over these things, then any money that is stolen is deemed to be your fault, so your bank will not refund it.
2. Do not allow yourself to give up on understanding moneyHanding over control of the finances, whether to a partner or a family member, means handing over control of your future. In every partnership, one of you will end up on your own - whether bereaved or divorced. Is this really the point at which you want to have to start learning about money?
3. Keep on top of your financesCloser examination of her bank statements would have revealed to Patricia that they were forged. We all need to take the time to check through our statements - for everything from crime to a mistake. It's only by getting to understand our statements that we can learn from them.
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