NASHVILLE, TN -- U.S. Postal Inspectors issued a cautionary tale about an elderly man who became the obsession of con-artists. Once one group of schemers ripped him off, he became a magnet for other thieves.
Arthur Norrod said, "Got a call one day… the guy was all excited who said "congratulations"…" The caller told Norrod he had just won $2.5 million plus $2,000 a week for life. There was just one requirement: a one-time $1,500 delivery fee. The caller told Norrod to go to Walmart and get three green dot money cards and call him back, which he did. He read them the card numbers and just like that, the $1,500 was gone. Norrod never received a prize. In fact, he just got deeper into the foreign lottery sweepstakes scheme. "From then on, I started getting calls from other people."
Postal inspectors say the thieves often sell each other victims phone numbers. Norrod received calls all day-- practically non-stop. At one point—schemers told him he had won 6 separate prizes. And he admitted 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 ended up changing his number. But the thieves are relentless.
U.S. Postal Inspector Brad 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 ahold of that will go to the house to continue the scam because they think they can still drag something out of him."
In all, Norrod lost $12,000, even though he took notes of every call and every money transaction. He said, "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, I do not analyze facts effectively. I will not admit I am being abused, how do I avoid being bitter with myself?"
Don't forget this important piece of information - NO legitimate lottery will ask you for money up-front. Keep that in mind when you receive calls, letters in the mail and especially emphasize the message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.