A Murfreesboro woman whose granddaughter is in need of surgery thought her prayers had been answered when she got a phone call that she had won $18.5 million, but she was really the victim of a scam.
The victim said she has been receiving calls since July 2013 from men pretending to be with the FBI and Homeland Security.
"One day I got 40 phone calls," she said.
To date, the scammers have managed to swindle her out of about $100,000, claiming if she would send money they wouldn't have to pay taxes on her winnings.
"Seven times they had appointments to bring my money to me, and every time something happened, and I never did get it," the victim said.
After getting to know her and about her family, the men started playing the guilt trip.
The woman has a 3-year-old granddaughter with a cleft palette who is in need of several more surgeries, so $18.5 million, a house and car sounded pretty good to her.
"Every time I said no, they would say, 'So you are going to allow your little granddaughter not be able to talk?'" the woman said.
Murfreesboro police and Rutherford County Sheriff's authorities have been investigating similar scams. "As we see in many fraud cases, they prey on the weak," said Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans.
Police said these types of fraud cases are quite difficult to investigate because the scammers are often in another state or in another country.
"The best piece of advice I can give you is if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and you need to verify it," Evans said.
This victim is so broke now, she can't even pay her bills, and the only choice she said she has is to sell her home.
"I'm nearly 77 years old, and I have nothing," the victim said. "That was my life savings."
The woman said she will use what happened to her to help spread the word to other elderly people to try and help prevent them from becoming scam victims.
Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Elderly Murfreesboro woman swindled out of life savingsMore>>
Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer.More >
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer. Coroner Gary Hargrove said Janaya's body was found in a bathroom.More >