Scam Alert: Woman loses over $100,000 to con men over the phone

Posted at 7:08 PM, Mar 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-31 06:00:20-04

Sharon Hansen is frustrated and angry.

Her aunt lost more than $100,000 to thieves who preyed on her vulnerability.

It all started when her aunt received a phone call after a local flood left many people homeless.

“He needed help. He needed someone to buy him a telephone and send it to his brother, so the brother could work on it and they can talk to each other,” says Hansen.

Hansen`s 83-year old aunt bought a phone and sent it to the address she was given. Then, she got another call.

“She got a call saying she won the California lottery for $1.4 million or whatever, but she had to pay the taxes on it first. So she went to the bank to get $4,500.

Hansen says she and her husband tried to intervene questioning her aunt about the lottery.

“Did you go to California ? No. Did you buy a California  lottery ticket? No. Then what makes you think you won? If you don`t play you don`t win. She was just confused about it,” says Hansen.

She was confused that her aunt, a retired nurse, continued to send more money when the con men called.

“She bought these Green Dot cards from Walgreens. She would bring them home and give them the number,” Hansen.

When cash is put on a card and the card number is used, the cash is gone. This happened over and over again.

At one point, her aunt questioned the caller asking why they needed more money.

“They scared her and said you have to send us this money or we are going to come to your house,” says Hansen.

Postal inspectors say threats are becoming more common. Many seniors, especially those who live alone, are easily frightened.

“They might go on Google Maps and get a description of their house the paint color. They will give them a detailed description of the home or a car in the driveway,” says Pamela Durkee, a U.S. Postal Inspector.