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Seniors Swindled out of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

A scam targeting seniors is hitting across the country and right here in Wisconsin.

The Better Business Bureau says hundreds of thousands of dollars have been swindled

This isn't a single phone call or email asking for money it's an elaborate scheme aimed at people in need of cash.

Beverly Ashford, of Franksville, is retired and lives in an old home when it needed repairs, she wasn't sure where to turn.

“The hot water tanks, all the stuff downstairs started breaking down,” said Ashford.

Ashford’s costs were mounting and then the phone rang.

“A person called me, talking about giving grants and how you qualify for it,” said Ashford.

Soon she started getting packets of information about internet investment opportunities and cash grants.

“They're so convincing and it is a rush, rush situation. They give you timeline when to send it in, you do not want to miss that window,” said Ashford.

Within about a month, Beverly sent in three payments .

In total about $2,000.

Then suddenly the company stopped answering Beverly's calls.

“It was devastating because I'm retired now and I don't have money to just give away. Usually I'm more savvy of things like that, but they were so convincing and they had all the right answers,” Ashford said.

The Better Business Bureau says this internet investment scam, which promises money through online advertising, targets seniors and is happening nationwide.

“They would get all their money back and then they'd get royalty checks. And not one time has ever been paid to anybody in this scam,” said Jim Temmer President/CEO, Better Business Bureau Serving WI. 

The scammers use several different company names. There are even websites set up to make it look legitimate.

The BBB recommends several steps to avoid becoming a victim to research the company, ask for references, talk to family or friends about it, and check with the Better Business Bureau.

“If we have people in our circles, maybe someone who's elderly, to talk about how they can prevent themselves from being scammed,” said Ashford.

Beverly said she learned a costly and disheartening lesson, she hopes others can learn from.

Beverly is still hoping to get her money back somehow.

The BBB says because the scammers lie about everything names, phone numbers, it's very hard to track them down.

If you think you've been a victim, you can file a report with the BBB.

   

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