‘I just want the last days that I live to be less stressful’ Disabled widow avoids eviction after scam

Investigations

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) — A disabled widow was afraid she’s going to be evicted from her apartment in Harriman. It all has to do with being scammed and having her bank account drained. This isn’t the first time it’s happened to her.

Carol Gatewood is upset about this most recent incident and doesn’t know who scammed her. Social Security is her only means of income, it’s not very much, and when $650 disappeared from her checking account, with no explanation of where the money went to. It left her financial condition, in the red.

Tina Hensley is Gatewood’s caregiver during the week. Carol is in hospice care following a stroke in March of 2020. She also lives in a low-income apartment community in Harriman and fears, she may have to leave after someone drained her checking account earlier this month.

Gatewood says, “I’ve gotten a note that they want to make me move if I don’t pay my rent. And, I can’t move. I can’t even get out of my bed.”

After that $650 disappeared, she was left with a negative balance of $580.06. Now, she’s unable to pay her $234 rent bill this month after someone apparently hacked into her account. Her account shows she’s in the red, and she contacted her local bank. They’re now checking into the fraudulent charge.

She says, “I’m not asking for a hand-out. I just want a hand-up.”

This isn’t the first time she’s been scammed. It was two years ago when we first met Carol, a former nurse. She believed the loan company was a local business in Harriman, it wasn’t. With no questions asked by Carol, she was sent a check for $1,600, which was three times the amount she needed.

Carol said the money was deposited directly into her checking account. But, she had given the so-called loan company her personal banking information during the application process. Turns out, the scammers took all of her money. Two years later, it’s happened again with multiple overdraft charges added by her bank.

Regarding her situation, WATE 6 On Your Side contacted the federal agency that oversees Harriman Gardens, the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a result, Carol says her apartment management has told her she will not be evicted.

“I just want the last days that I live to be less stressful. That’s all I want,” Carol said.

Her rent was paid for by a local community agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development helped make the arrangement. Also, the Roane County Community Action Committee is helping Carol.

On her limited income, she can barely afford to buy personal need items. So, the CAC is pitching in as much as it can to ease the burden she faces with her bank account in the red.

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