Consumer Alert: Going into hiding

Consumer Alert: Going into hiding

What would you do with 30 million dollars? It makes your head spin just thinking about the possibilities. That is exactly what some scammers are counting on. How were they able to trick a respected Harvard educated lawyer with their scheme? A reporter has the details.

"[How could] this brilliant lawyer, someone I have looked up to my whole life, fall for something like this?" asked Michael DeGeurin, son-in-law of fraud victim.

DeGeurin is stills tunned that his Harvard educated father-in-law is mixed up in a lottery sweepstakes scam.

"We had noticed that he had started getting a bunch of mail that had to do with cruises and getting gold coins, some of it started becoming things like 'you may have won this,'" said DeGeurin.

The 85-year-old retired attorney and recent widower was told he won $30 million and a new car. All he needed to do was pay the taxes. So he did.

"Bankers started calling us saying that he was taking out large sums of money from his bank account. I figured if he realized it was a fraud, that he would stop. A year later, it was still happening but he had gone and he kind of hid it," DeGeurin continued.

He had withdrawn more than $50,000 from his retirement funds. When DeGeurin realized what was happening, he sat his father-in-law down and told him it was a scam. Frustrated, DeGeurin began digging and realized just how manipulative these fraudsters can be.

"They changed his cell phone number, they changed his home phone," DeGeurin said.

They got his personal information and altered his phone accounts. They also sent a cab to his house if he didn't answer the phone.

"What scares me is that they are sending people to his home," said DeGeurin.

"They are having day-to-day interaction or even sometimes hourly interaction with this person," said Dana Carter, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Postal inspectors say it is important for adult children to start the difficult conversation with loved ones.

"Monitoring of bills and savings and checking accounts and even retirement accounts. Paying particular attention to large amounts of money being withdrawn or being wire transferred or moved around from various accounts. I think that is the way to open the door to conversation," Carter continued.

DeGeurin has decided to move his father-in-law from the community he has lived in all of his life in Alabama to Texas where he and his family live in order to monitor him more closely. Postal inspectors want to remind consumers that no legitimate lottery will ask for money to be paid up front in order to receive a prize.

Copyright 2017 Litton's Consumer Alert via WBRC. All rights reserved.