Scammers are targeting local senior citizens with million dollar give aways, and one senior is fighting back. When Connie Hodgman heard she won over a million dollars and a 2012 Mercedes Benz, she thought it was too good to be true. So she asked the company to prove it.
There's just that one little chance, because I do fill out the little entry slips everywhere," said Connie Hodgman a Lansing resident.
They faxed her these documents. Showing her a copy of the check along with the details of her winnings, and what she needed to do to collect. The only catch, she needed to put $300 on a Money Pack Green Dot card.
The scammers have people buy what is called a green dot card, it works kind of like a debit card. The "winner" puts the money on the card and then the scammers ask for the number over the phone so that person is left with an empty card and they are left with the money.
They didn't mind calling her, but would never answer her phone calls to them. The number to their answering machine had an area code in New York City. The scammers also never showed up when they said they would. They kept saying they were an hour away, and needed the Green Dot card number to supposedly verify Hodgman's ID. The card itself warns people to only give the number to trusted companies, saying if anyone else asks for the number, it's probably a scam.
"When someone says you have won this, but first you have to give this to me. That's just not the way it works," said Sandy Wight, Hodgman's sister.
We headed to bank of america, the bank the check was supposedly drawn on, and they reaffirmed it was absolutely fraud.
"This is mean, you know," said Hodgman. "This is real mean to do this, but I'm just glad if we can get word out to other people."
There is a whole psychology to being scammed. While you know in your head that things aren't adding up it's emotionally exciting to think you just won a bunch of money. The Attorney General gave us a couple tips on how you can quickly know if your being scammed.
Never give out any personal information to companies and organizations that call you over the phone. That includes your social security, debit and credit card numbers. That's all a scammer needs to steal your money and identity.
Also if you have to pay anything including taxes to collect a prize bottom line is you didn't win.
So if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Especially if someone wants money up front.
For a complete list of consumer alerts from the Attorney General's office, visit the website below.