81-year-old becomes obsession for scammers

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An elderly man becomes the obsession of con artists after one particular group rips him off.

"Got a call one day… the guy was all excited who said 'congratulations,'" explained the victim, Arthur Norrod.

The caller told Norrod he had just won $2.5 million  plus $2,000 a week for life.  But he was told th one requirement was a one-time $1,500 delivery fee.

"He said, 'Go to Walmart and get three green dot money cards and call me back,'" explained Norrod.

The con artists told Norrod to scratch the back of the cards and read them the numbers over the phone.  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 scam.

"From then on, I started getting calls from other people," said Norrod.

"The scammers are very relentless. They will call you day and night," warned US Postal Inspector Brad Mahs.

Inspectors say the thieves often sell each other the phone numbers of victims. Norrod received calls all day, practically non-stop. At one point, scammers told him he had won 6 separate prizes. And Norrod admits 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," he said.

Norrod ended up changing his number, but the thieves are relentless.

"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," said Mahs.

In all, Norrod lost $12,000. He took notes of every call and every money transaction.

"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," said Norrod. "I will not admit I am being abused, how do I avoid being bitter with myself?"

Inspectors say 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.

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