Knoxville senior warns others after sweepstakes scam

Knoxville senior warns others after falling victim to sweepstakes scam

Posted:
Mary, who asked for her last name not to be revealed, says she's embarrassed and should have known better than to have forked over $900 dollars. Mary, who asked for her last name not to be revealed, says she's embarrassed and should have known better than to have forked over $900 dollars.
The first MoneyPak card was in the amount of $500, purportedly to pay taxes. Mary says after she sent that money, the scammer called back asking for a delivery fee. The first MoneyPak card was in the amount of $500, purportedly to pay taxes. Mary says after she sent that money, the scammer called back asking for a delivery fee.
"I was more shocked than she was that she gave anyone any money for anything," said Mary's friend Ray Chappelle. "I was more shocked than she was that she gave anyone any money for anything," said Mary's friend Ray Chappelle.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville senior wants to warn others after she fell victim to a sweepstakes scam.

Mary, who asked for her last name not to be revealed, says she's embarrassed and should have known better than to have forked over $900 dollars.

The 93-year-old woman says she wants her story told.

A swindler convinced the great-great grandmother to buy Money Pak cards and give him the number in order to receive her supposed sweepstakes prize of $15 million and a Mercedes.

"I was more shocked than she was that she gave anyone any money for anything," said Mary's friend Ray Chappelle.

Chappelle says he didn't know about the calls Mary had been receiving.

A meticulous note taker, Mary wrote down the names of seven different men who called, all from Jamaica.

"I'm embarrassed. I know better, but it just came down so smooth," Mary admitted. She says the called told her the money was there, and all she had to do was get the Money Pak cards.

The first card was in the amount of $500, purportedly to pay taxes. Mary says after she sent that money, the scammer called back asking for a delivery fee.

That fee was $100, but the scammer wasn't through. Mary says she naively believed the next line. She was told to send $300, because Bank of America would not let her have her winnings unless they were insured.

Mary says she was unaware of the scam and had not heard of it before.

"I'm tight, but she is super tight, and for her to go to CVS and pull out that money she had been saving for a new driveway, I couldn't believe it," said Chappelle.

A survey last year by AARP found the average age of fraud victims is 69, seniors are more likely to listen to unknown callers, and they are likely to believe too-good-to-be-true announcements like "You're a winner."

"[The scammer] is good at his job. I can say that for him," Mary said.

Both Mary and her friend Ray Chappelle agree she was targeted because of her age.

"Knowing that's the bait," said Chappelle. "We knew we are on the sucker list, age alone."

Having to pay for a prize with cash cards is a dead giveaway that it's a scam. If you really won something, there are no fees.

Mary wants others to get that message.

"If there is any way I can help anyone else, prepare them for something like this, that is what I'd like to do," she said.

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