LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) — This Rip-Off Alert is a frightening tale about one elderly man from Tennessee who became a victim of a group of scammers, then a magnet for other thieves.
A caller told Arthur Norrod that he had just won $2.5 million, plus $2,000 a week for life.
“Got a call one day. The guy was all excited who said ‘congratulations,’ ” Norrod said.
There was just one requirement: a one-time $1,500 delivery fee.
“He said, ‘Go to Wal-Mart and get three Green Dot money cards and call me back,” Norrod said.
The con artists told Norrod to scratch the back of the cards and read them the numbers over the phone. Just like that -- the $1,500 was gone.
Norrod never received a prize. In fact, he just got deeper into the foreign lottery sweepstakes scam.
“The scammers are very relentless,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Brad Mahs. “They will call you day and night.”
Postal inspectors say the thieves often sell each other the phone numbers of victims.
Norrod received calls all day -- practically non-stop. At one point, scammers told him he had won six separate prizes. And Norrod admits he wanted those prizes to be real.
“My wife being in a nursing home and being retired … no money … 81-years-old,” Norrod said. “No chance of a job, so I wanted the money. It was my personal greed to blame, I’m sure.”
Norrod ended up changing his number. But the thieves were relentless.
“They will have a taxi driver come to his house and have him show up with a phone,” Mahs said. “Go to the extent neighbors, taxi drivers, pizza delivery guy anybody they can get a hold of that will go to the house to continue the scam because they think they can still drag something out of him.”
In all, Norrod lost $12,000. He took notes of every call and every money transaction.
“I allowed myself to be suckered,” he said. “Question of old age, not as quick as I used to be, the pressure of medical and other bills, not having money to do what I want, just plain wanting to be rich, I do not analyze facts effectively. I will not admit I am being abused, how do I avoid being bitter with myself?”
Remember: No legitimate lottery will ask you for money up front. Keep that in mind when you receive calls and letters. Emphasize the message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.