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Phone Lottery Scam Targets Springfield Elderly

SCAMSPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The promise of millions of dollars turned into harassment and fear for a city man.

A random caller told the resident he won five million dollars. We’re referring to the man as “John Smith” because he asked us to change his name out of fear connect to the lottery scam.

“He called back almost everyday and he was persistent, wanted to know when are you gonna get the money,” said Smith.

Smith is more than eighty years old and is a resident of an assisted living community.

He was told he could claim his prize if he sent in $150 . Smith was instantly skeptical.

“After I give you $150 maybe I never see you again,” said Smith.

He knew not to send the money, but wanted the calls to stop so he contacted the Springfield Office of Consumer Information.

“My concern is they are preying on the innocent, the senior citizens, the vulnerable and that is a big concern to me,” said Milagros Johnson, Director Office of Consumer Information.

Johnson has heard from several older residents about the lottery scam.  She wants people to be on alert especially those who have older family members or loved ones. Johnson says the lottery doesn’t call if you’ve won and that you can’t win anything if you didn’t play.

Her advice is to just hang up the phone.

“Cause the minute you open a dialog there is a connection … you leave it open. It’s just like opening a front door to a stranger. It’s almost letting them in,” said Johnson.

If the calls won’t stop tell the person you are onto their scam and you’re getting police involved. If that doesn’t stop change your phone number.

Most of the calls are from out of the country or from throw away phones, which makes them hard to trace.

To report a scam to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General CLICK HERE.