Seniors pay hundreds of thousands to PCH scam

- Senior citizens are being ripped off by scam artists to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands, according to Police Chief Kevin Riley.

It's happened four times in the last month to seniors in Kenneth City. 

"These are the folks they are targeting, the folks are not up on today's scams," Chief Riley said.

One victim - who did not want to be named - told FOX 13 she got a letter that appeared to be from the Publisher's Clearing House.

"It said I had won $550,000," the victim said. "I figured, hey, this is legitimate. It was signed, the telephone number was there and there was a check included."

The check for $7,000 was to be cashed by her, to supposedly cover legal and administrative fees.

But before cashing the check, the notice says the "winner" should call the Claim Manager. By the time the victim's bank processes the check, the victim has already sent the scammers their money. Meanwhile, the check bounces and the victim is out thousands.

For the victim, she thought all she had to do was mail in the processing fees and wait for her half-million in winnings. Of course, the money never came.

Kenneth City Police say she's not alone. In four weeks, two seniors in Kenneth City have fallen for the Publisher's Clearing House scam, and two others have fallen for other ones.

One senior sent $200,000 to scammers over several months.

"I never would have guessed it could go to that extent," said Riley. "It could be supporting rebel or ISIS groups, it could be supporting maybe someone laying on the beach drinking margaritas."

With the money she earned from years as a civil servant now in someone else's hands, the victim swears she'll never fall for a dirty trickster again.

"We are people and we should respect one another, we should help each other and not try to harm them," she said.

The US Postal Service is involved in the investigation into this scam, as well. On Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m., Kenneth City Police are holding a seminar to help seniors and anyone avoid fraud. It is going to be at the Martha Ward Pavilion, at the Clearview Oaks Complex at the intersection of 58th Street North and 40th Avenue North.

It is free and open to anyone, even those who do not live in Kenneth City.

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