Undated -- If you think you're not vulnerable to falling prey to con- artists, we have a story that might change your mind. Even the brightest among us can easily be lured by the promise of big money.
Lawrence Hawkins' father was a fraud victim. He described the con-artists at the heart of a scheme that cost his father more than $60,000 as, "Arrogant is one, demanding is a second, lying is a third."
Hawkins said a few days after his mother died, his father got some sort of letter in the mail, saying his mother had won some multi-million dollars jackpot. The letter said his father had to pay taxes on the winnings to collect the jackpot. Then he said the conmen kept asking for more.
A telemarketing firm also got Hawkins' information and started soliciting him over the phone too. Lawrence Hawkins said, "It's really insidious, these people are persistent and they don't know how to take "no" for an answer."
So how could this Army veteran and former biochemist for the National Institute of Health fall for this scam? His son said, "I think my father was lonely, and I think what these scam people did on some level was provided some kind of consistency, there would be a consistent phone call coming in. The only thing my father got out of this was grief."
Lawrence said he wished his father had told him sooner, but Postal Inspector Lori McAlister said what happened is typical. "It's the embarrassment and a lot of times it is fear of telling their families."
Hawkins said, "Anybody who thinks they will not fall victim to some kind of fraud or scam or what have you, be sure. Check in with your parents, check in with your grandparents, check in with your aunts, uncles, elderly cousins. Whatever it is check in with them and make sure everything is okay."
It is important for every consumer to know that NO legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front.
US Postal Inspectors/ WFMY News 2