This is one of the toughest cases of "Am I the A-hole?" I've come across in some time. OP explains that he and his wife have been married for nine years, and she's wonderful except for the fact that she keeps falling for phone scams and losing money as a result. And now he wants to separate their finances to protect them... from her.
Six months ago, his wife "got a call from the MVA telling her that my new car wasn't ever registered, and that I would be arrested if she didn't pay the registration fees immediately." While she had good enough sense not to give out her own credit card number over the phone, she still went to the store and bought prepaid cards, then gave the numbers of those cards to the scammers.
When she told him what happened, her husband knew immediately that it was a scam. He told her that they would never have anyone arrested for messing up paperwork and they wouldn't request prepaid gift cards as payment. He tried to reverse the charges, but the bank said there was nothing they could do because the money was already gone. Oy.
He writes, "Needless to say this was an expensive lesson, but I thought my wife at least wouldn't fall for something like that again." You'd think, right? I'm not sure how old this couple is, but most people under, oh I don't know, 80 years old, know that you never give your personal information out over the phone.
Rarely if ever do official institutions contact you over the phone and demand immediate payment. It just doesn't happen, and you should know not to trust calls that claim otherwise. But this woman just seems to panic when she's told she's in violation of the law.
Recently, she fell for another scam. She was contacted by someone who claimed to be the IRS. They told her she and her husband had made an error on their 2018 taxes. The scammers said they owed $2,500. "They threatened jail time, taking our house, our cars, etc," he writes. "My wife panicked and gave the scammers our joint account information."
Oy oy oy. She called her husband right after she did this, and he immediately called the bank to stop the transaction. But he kind of can't believe she fell for another scam and put their finances in such danger.
"Quite simply, after going through this the first time I cannot believe that she fell for another scam," he continues. "The first time was such a nightmare and so many emails and phone calls." Another annoying thing in all this is that she refused to deal with aftermath of her falling prey to these scams.
She wouldn't call the banks or the prepaid card company or send emails or anything because she "felt overwhelmed by the situation," so her husband was left to handle it all in a panic. At this point, he wants to separate their finances so she doesn't do this again, and I can't say I blame him.
It would be one thing if she only fell for one scam. But she doesn't seem to have learned her lesson at all. "I cannot believe she fell for a scam like that TWICE," one commenter wrote. "I would be quite concerned with her and your shared money as well."
"She is a threat to your financial security and ultimately cannot be trusted to learn from her mistakes."
I think if I was the wife in this situation, I obviously wouldn't want to be cut off from my joint finances with my husband, but I'd also be concerned about my own gullible nature. One commenter pointed out that if the wife had posted and said that her husband doesn't trust her with money, the responses might look different and the husband might get painted as the villain.
They write, "I'd rather advise him to get his wife on a course, or to a therapist, or to talk and make sure she will call him FIRST before doing anything... giving her financial handcuffs within the marriage isn't a great solution either."
This makes sense. They really really have to sit down and discuss how she absolutely cannot do this anymore. Just separating their finances won't solve the entire problem. If she falls for another scam, she'll be tricked out of whatever funds she has access to.
She has to be taught not to give into these scams. Really, if she doesn't know whether to trust someone on the phone, all she has to say is, "I can't give out my personal information over the phone. You can call my husband," any hand it off to him. I understand the husband's impulse to protect their finances, but his wife should be able to learn her lesson.