Safe from Scams: falling victim to con-artists

FRESNO, Calif.

Lawrence Hawkins said, "Arrogant is one, demanding is a second, lying is a third."

That's how Lawrence Hawkins describes the con-artists at the heart of a scam that cost his father more than $60 thousand.

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

To collect the jackpot, Hawkins' father was instructed he first had to pay taxes on the winnings. And the conmen kept asking for more.

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

A telemarketing firm now had Hawkins information and started soliciting him over the phone too.

"it's really insidious, these people are persistent and they don't know how to take "no" for an answer," said Hawkins.

So, how could this army veteran and former biochemist for the national institute of health fall for this scam?

Hawkins explained, "I think my father was lonely, and I think what these scam people did on some level was provided some kind of consistency, there would be a consistent phone call coming in. The only thing my father got out of this was grief."

Lawrence says he wished his father had told him sooner, but postal inspectors say what happened is typical.

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

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