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Onslaught of scam attempts moves woman to action

Oct. 5, 2010

In the last month an 85-year-old Wauwatosa woman has received numerous calls and letters from people trying to bilk her out of money, but she outsmarted them all.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

In August, the woman was sent a check for $1,962 and told it was a prize. She suspected it wasn't real, and her bank confirmed that.

Three weeks ago, she got a call from someone claiming to represent Publisher's Clearinghouse who said she had won $260,000. Because the money was supposedly coming from Canada, she needed to wire $1,900 to convert the funds to U.S. currency. The caller even told her where she should go in Wauwatosa to wire the money, and said a women with a package would be waiting for her when she finished. The woman checked her facts by calling the real Publisher's Clearinghouse and found out it was a scam.

Soon afterward, she received a letter from a company in Quebec that said she was a beneficiary of an $80,000 unclaimed settlement - all she had to do was call a number and provide information.

But on Sept. 30, she decided she had had enough. She got a call from a different supposed insurance company upping the stakes. The caller said she would get $300,000 cash and $190,000 by check as a settlement. She should wait for further communication. A man called a while later and said she should send $500 to insure the package. She told the man she didn't drive, so he suggested she call a cab and he would reimburse her.

When he called back to check her progress on getting him the money, he reached a police officer. The man was undeterred. He said the officer didn't scare him, and he hung up.

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