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Q: Protect my friend's $ from his online gambling addiction ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Protect my friend's $ from his online gambling addiction
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: plum209-ga
List Price: $23.00
Posted: 13 Oct 2006 12:54 PDT
Expires: 12 Nov 2006 11:54 PST
Question ID: 773264
My friend has a gambling problem and has lost control.  He has already
lost a lot of money (high 6 figures) and is in danger of losing
everything he has left.

He has expressed a willingness to cooperate with any idea we have to
protect his money from him while he works on overcoming the addiction.

Is there a type of bank account where he needs someone else's
permission to withdraw anything, even electronically (via ACH)?  That
person would release just enough every month to pay rent and living
expenses.

Also, is there a way to block his access to credit?

Again, we can get his consent to implement any measure that would be
effective.  It's just his moment-to-moment control that's the problem.

Thanks in advance.
Answer  
Subject: Re: Protect my friend's $ from his online gambling addiction
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 13 Oct 2006 14:34 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
 
plum209...

There is a wonderful resource in the form of the National
Council on Problem Gambling website, whose homepage is here:
http://ncpgambling.org/

On that site is an extensive and detailed (nearly 2.7MB!) PDF
document titled, 'Problem Gamblers and Their Finances - A Guide
for Treatment Professionals', which covers every possible idea
about interventions for this condition.

I'll post a few excerpts from this handbook, but since it is
copyrighted ( 2000 National Endowment for Financial Education),
I can post only a limited amount. Nonetheless, it is freely
downloadable here:
http://ncpgambling.org/media/pdf/problem_gamblers_finances.pdf


I worked in the field of mental health for 25+ years, and one
somber note of caution which should not be lightly dismissed is:

"CAUTION:
 A spouse, partner, or close loved one should NEVER restrict
 or cut off the gambler?s access to a household?s financial
 resources if there is any fear that the gambler will become
 physically or emotionally abusive in an effort to obtain
 money. Desperate gamblers have assaulted spouses, partners,
 or other loved ones. Some have committed murder. Gamblers
 sometimes threaten suicide if they don?t get the money, or
 use the children as ransom."
Page 28, numbered at the bottom of the page.


From that page on, it goes into exquisite detail on every 
imaginable consideration for handling the finances of the
addict, noting:

"The problem gambler should be encouraged to
 close the accounts for all credit cards on which the
 gambler signs. This includes jointly owned cards
 and cards used for work. Advise the gambler or
 loved one to obtain written confirmation of all
 closures. If a credit card is necessary, the nongambling
 individual may want to open a new account in his or
 her name only. However, since gambling households
 commonly are experiencing financial difficulties,
 the nongambling spouse may want to delay obtaining
 a new credit card until the household finances have
 sufficiently stabilized.

 Suggest to the problem gambler that he or she
 agree to live on a set cash amount each week. The
 nongambler would administer this amount. The
 cash sum should be sufficient for items such as
 coffee, snacks, or other common out-of-pocket
 needs. The gambler should track even these small
 expenses and account for the money to the loved
 one before the next week?s cash is paid. 

 Legal Transfer of Assets

 Experts often recommend that the gambler transfer
 legal ownership of some, or even all, of his or her
 assets to a nongambler. This can raise problems in
 the event of divorce, separation, physical or mental
 incapacity, death, or if the nongambler is not a
 spouse, but it may be a necessary action. 

 The following are suggestions for ways to transfer
 ownership or otherwise restrict the gambler?s access
 to the household?s financial resources. Just which
 strategies should be implemented depends on the
 individual gambler, his or her unique financial
 situation, and family obligations. Encourage the
 gambler to talk over these possible strategies with
 a lawyer or financial planner before taking action.

 Make the gambler aware that he or she could
 transfer ownership of assets by taking the following
 actions: 

 - Close all joint checking, savings, and investment
 accounts and reopen them in the sole name of
 the nongambler spouse, partner, or relative. This
 should be done even with accounts that currently
 require dual signatures. (Some gamblers will
 forge signatures.) 

 - All paychecks, pension payments, and other
 income should be automatically deposited in
 these accounts whenever possible. However,
 Social Security payments cannot be automatically
 deposited in accounts that don?t contain
 the name of the recipient."
Page 29, numbered at the bottom of the page.


From the Table of Contents, here's a complete list
of the financial topics covered:

"How to Work Financially With the Problem Gambler
 Identifying Assets and Sources of Income
 Sources of Income
 Financial Assets
 The Gambler's 'Stash'
 The Monitoring that a Loved One Might Do
 Creating a Realistic Spending Plan
 Tips on Cutting Expenses
 Additional Budgeting Tips
 Budgeting Monies for Gambling Treatment
 Limiting the Gambler's Access to Money
 Establish Controls for Paying Household Bills
 Legal Transfer of Assets
 The Use of Trusts
 Problems and Risks of Shifting Ownership
 Large Sums of Money
 Retirement Accounts
 Mortgage Refinancing or Home Equity Loans
 Traditional Pension Plan
 Inheritances
 Investment Accounts (Nonretirement)
 Gambling Winnings
 Lottery Winnings
 Civil Settlements
 Repaying Gambling Debts
 Determine Amount of Debt and List Creditors
 Establish a Debt Repayment Plan
 Tax Issues
 Declaring Bankruptcy Is a Last Resort
 Being Alert to Life Events
 Working with Family Members
 Wall Street as Riverboat Gambling?
 Warning Signs of an Investment Gambling Problem
 Pros and Cons of the Gambler as 'Investor'"


PDF files require the Adobe Reader to open the files.
If you don't already have the Adobe Reader installed
on your computer, you can download it for free here:
http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html


I'm sure you'll find the rest of this booklet to be
of equal value in addressing your friend's situation,
but if you have any questions, please post a Request
for Clarification before rating the answer.

sublime1-ga


Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below.

Searches done, via Google:

"gambling addiction" restrict access to funds credit
://www.google.com/search?q=%22gambling+addiction%22+restrict+access+to+funds+credit

Request for Answer Clarification by plum209-ga on 30 Oct 2006 11:41 PST
Thanks for the response.  One question: do you have any further ideas
on how to limit my friend's ability to open new credit accounts?  For
example, is there a way to place a lock on the credit file?  Thanks.

Clarification of Answer by sublime1-ga on 30 Oct 2006 14:08 PST
plum209...

I know of no way to lock a credit file in terms of absolutely
preventing a person from obtaining new credit.

There have been new credit-freeze laws adopted by several 
states, but their purpose is to prevent identity theft by
denying businesses and creditors access to the credit file.
This might be helpful to some extent in reducing the 
solicitation of new credit, since, without access to the
file, credit companies may be more reluctant to make offers.
The states which have passed or are considering these laws
are listed in the following article.

You can read about these credit-freeze laws in this article
on KeepMedia from The Kiplinger Retirement Report, which notes
that, in some states:

"...the right to lock a credit file is limited to consumers
 who have been victims of identity theft and have reported
 the theft to police."
http://www.keepmedia.com/pubs/KiplingersRetirementReport/2005/04/01/808079?extID=10037&oliID=229


Calling 888-5OPT-OUT (888-567-8688) can stop most unsolicited
credit card offers, per this page on Experian:
http://www.experian.com/privacy/opting_out_preapproved_offers.html


Also, as noted in the PDF file I referred you to, if the gambler
is married, a joint credit report can be set up and monitored by
the spouse. If unmarried, the gambler needs to provide a signed
release allowing a friend or loved one access to the credit report,
which can be monitored on a monthly basis.

Arranging for all of the gambler's mail to go through the friend
or loved one is another recommendation, and allows incoming mail
to be screened for credit offers. See the section titled, 'The 
monitoring that a Loved One Might Do' on the numbered page 20:
http://ncpgambling.org/media/pdf/problem_gamblers_finances.pdf


I also explored the idea that filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7
bankruptcy might limit the access to new credit. Apparently,
this is not the case, as noted on this page from the Moran Law
Group:

"Our experience is also that newly discharged debtors are
 frequently solicited for new cards!"
http://www.moranlaw.net/postbrcredit.htm


I'm sorry I can't offer you more effective solutions in this
regard, but I hope this helps.

sublime1-ga


Searches done, via Google:

"lock a credit file"
://www.google.com/search?q=%22lock+a+credit+file%22

credit-freeze law
://www.google.com/search?q=credit-freeze+law

"Chapter 13" "new credit"
://www.google.com/search?q=%22Chapter+13%22+%22new+credit%22
plum209-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
thank you very much

Comments  
Subject: Re: Protect my friend's $ from his online gambling addiction
From: barneca-ga on 13 Oct 2006 13:05 PDT
 
not sure what forum he is gambling in, but some casinos (both physical
and online) allow you to tell the casino not to let you get a cash
advance to gamble there.

obviously doesn't work if he's using someone slightly less
above-board, or if he's bringing cash to a physical location.

-cab
Subject: Re: Protect my friend's $ from his online gambling addiction
From: surikas-ga on 16 Oct 2006 05:05 PDT
 
Wow.. that is a serious problem.. You should act very fast. I have a
friend who had a similar problem with alcochol.. Thanks God we weren't
to late to help him.
As for gambling problems try: http://gamblingproblems.com/
There is lots of useful information in it.. 
I really hope it will help and that your friend will be saved.
Good luck!
Subject: Re: Protect my friend's $ from his online gambling addiction
From: plum209-ga on 31 Oct 2006 14:59 PST
 
TrustedID's Identity Freeze product looks pretty good for credit
monitoring and lockdown, and it is competitively priced at 7.95/mo.  I
think I'll try it.

https://www.trustedid.com/html/identity_theft_protection_products_001.php

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