Andy's Got Your Back on scams that fool even the smartest senior - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back on scams that fool even the smartest seniors

(WMC TV) - Even the brightest among us fall for the oldest scams in the book.

Lawrence Hawkins' father is an Army veteran and a former biochemist for the National Institutes of Health.

Despite those credentials, he still fell for a garden-variety prize scam.

"A few days after my mother died, my father got some sort of letter in the mail, saying she had won some multi-million dollar prize," said Hawkins.

To collect the jackpot, Hawkins' father was instructed he had to pay "taxes" on the "winnings."

You see where we're going with this. But Hawkins' brilliant biochemist father didn't.

"He was paying out like the green grocer every week," he said.

The scam artist then sold Hawkins' father's information to a telemarketer. Endless calls -- and remarkably, he answered every one of them.

"My father was lonely, and I think what these scam people did on some level was provided some kind of consistency," he said. "There would be a consistent phone call coming in."

Victims, especially the smart ones, often don't tell their loved ones they've been duped.

"It's the embarrassment, and a lot of times it is fear of telling their families," said U.S. Postal Inspector Lori McAlister.

That's why families must monitor their elderly loved ones' calls and mail. It's their age that makes them a target, no matter what their background.

We have to be their advocates.

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