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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Sweepstakes scam alert

Updated: Thursday, April 24 2014, 08:35 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Con artists will go to extremes to steal your money.

Even when you catch on to their scheme, they can be reluctant to let go.  This is a cautionary tale about how one elderly man became the obsession of con men.  Its seems after one group of scammers ripped him off, he became a magnet for other thieves.

Arthur Norrod, a fraud victim, said "Got a call one day, the guy was all excited who said "Congratulations!"

The caller told Arthur Norrod he had just won $2.5 million dollars plus two thousand dollars a week for life.  Just one requirement: A one-time $15-hundred dollar delivery fee.
 
Norrod said, "He said, 'Go to Wal-Mart and get three GreenDot money cards and call me back.'"
 
The con artists told Arthur to scratch the back of the cards and read them the numbers over the phone.  And just like that the $1500 dollars was gone. Arthur never received a prize.  In fact, he just got deeper into the foreign lottery sweepstakes scam.
 
"From then on I started getting calls from other people," he said.
 
Brad Mahs, a US Postal Inspector, said, "The scammers are very relentless.  They will call you day and night."
 
Postal Inspectors say the thieves often sell each other the phone numbers of victims.  Arthur received calls all day practically non-stop.  At one point, scammers told him he had won 6 separate prizes.  And Arthur admits he wanted those prizes to be real.
 
"My wife being in a nursing home and being retired, no money.  81-years-old, you know.  No chance of a job so I wanted the money.  It was my personal greed to blame, I'm sure" Arthur said.
 
Arthur ended up changing his number.  But the thieves are relentless.
 
Postal Inspector Mahs said, "They will have a taxi driver come to his house and have him show up with a phone, 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 Arthur lost $12000 dollars.  He took notes of every call and every money transaction.
 
"I allowed myself to be suckered.  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," Norrod said.

It's very important to remember no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up-front.  Keep that in mind when you receive calls or letters in the mail and its especially important to emphasize this to elderly friends, family and neighbors.


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