NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A New Orleans man is distraught after wiring much of his savings to an overseas address after getting caught up in a sweepstakes scam. The victim is now offering a word of warning, to others who may fall prey to some slick predators.
"They kept asking me each time for more money," said the man, who is in his 80s.
He said he got a phone call from a woman who claimed to be an attorney from Atlanta named Cynthia Ross, calling on behalf of a sweepstakes.
"I was very surprised, I didn't know what to think," said the victim.
The attorney told him he had won a million dollar prize and that he needed to send thousands of dollars to someone named Moo Soll Suck to cover the taxes and processing before the check was delivered.
"This money was very important to me, my life savings," said the victim.
The scam artist even directed him to what she said was a federal gaming office to verify that the contest was legitimate.
"They told me everything was on the up and up and these people have been there since 98 and had a clean record," said the victim.
But it was all a hoax.
"That's why they are called scam artists," said Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau.
The victim has reached out to the Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission for help.
"Older people are especially vulnerable, especially if they live by themselves," said Albert.
But the overseas transactions will be tough to trace.
"I hope they will be able to investigate it," said the victim.
"I do know in the last year the Secret Service rounded up some people in India," said Albert.
Until the victim said he would not send any more money, the Atlanta attorney was always available. Now, however, there's no response to a man who feels embarrassed and hurt.
"They done cleaned me out - out," he said.
His rosary is a constant companion, but so far, it hasn't helped recover money he was counting on for his golden years. The Better Business Bureau says you should never pay money up front for any prize, and if you receive such an offer, don't do it.
They also say everyone, especially the elderly, should avoid taking any phone call from people they don't know.