Marjorie Jones trusted the man who called to tell her she’d won a sweepstakes prize, saying she could collect the winnings once she paid the taxes and fees.
After she wired the first payment, he and other callers kept adding conditions to convince her to send more money.
As the scheme progressed, Jones, who was legally blind and lived alone in a two-story house in Moss Bluff, Louisiana, depleted her savings, took out a reverse mortgage and cashed in a life insurance policy.
She didn’t tell her family, not even the sister who lived next door.
Scammers often push victims to keep promised winnings a secret, says an investigator who helped unravel this sinister effort to exploit an 82-year-old woman.
Her family didn’t realize something was wrong until she started asking to borrow money, a first for a woman they admired for her financial independence.
But by then it was too late, says Angela Stancik, one of Jones’s granddaughters. Jones had lost all of her life savings—hundreds of thousands of dollars.
About one week after calling Stancik at the family business in Ganado, Texas, to borrow $6,000, Jones committed suicide.
That was May 4, 2010. When family members went to her home, they found a caller-ID filled with numbers they didn’t recognize and three bags of wire transfer receipts in her closet. Jones had $69 left in her bank account.
Some 5 million older Americans are financially exploited every year by scammers like the ones who…
This article was sourced from the Wealth Advisor.