MILWAUKEE -- It sounds like a dream come true. You get a phone call saying you've just won $5 million! But there's a catch, and that's where one of the most popular scams begins.
"I thought 'you dirty, rotten people,'" a scam victim said.
That is the reaction a woman had after she learned she was a victim of a sweepstakes scam that cost her half her life savings.
She didn't want to provide her name out of fear she could be targeted again.
"They called me on the telephone and told me we had won something," the scam victim said.
She had won a $5 million jackpot -- but to collect it, she was told she would need to pay the fees and taxes. The first payment: $500.
"Like a dummy I paid them money on the Green Dot card," the scam victim said.
Green Dot cards are a popular component in lottery schemes. Victims are asked to put money on the card, and then give the scammers the number on the back.
"As soon as they have that special code, that special number, they can immediately load that money from the card to a card they have in Jamaica," Alexandra Papageorge, U.S. postal inspector said.
The victim in this case lost more than $70,000.
"They were mainly friendly. Just a friend talking to another friend," the scam victim said.
"Act like they are their best friend, try to remember their birthdays and find out all of those personal details that will allow them to compromise their identity even worse," Papageorge said.
The scammers were relentless -- calling the victim almost 40 times a day. And they didn't stop there.
"Somehow they got her number to her vehicle. So when they couldn`t` get through to her home, they called her OnStar system in her car," Papageorge said.
Postal inspectors were able to successfully change her phone number, but every family with an elderly parent should be on the lookout for this scam.
"Sometimes maybe somebody is just starting dementia, maybe they are alone most of the time, so these scammers actually prey on the fact that the senior lives alone," Papageorge said.