90-year-old woman loses thousands of dollars in lottery phone scam

INDIANAPOLIS -- A 90-year-old central Indiana woman, credited with starting multiple Christian ministries, is now out tens of thousands of dollars because of a phone scam.

The elderly woman’s cell phone started ringing in April – and it hasn’t stopped.

"Somebody had told her she'd won the Mega Millions Lottery because she paid her bills on time,” said Matt O’Dell, a friend of the woman. “And they had $500,000 in cash and a new car to hand her if she just gave them $6,000.”

O’Dell has been trying to prevent his 90-year-old friend from picking up the phone, but the caller is relentless.

Each time they call, they ask for more money.

“She's frantic to try to get this $500,000 so she can help-- she wants to help me, she wants to help her family. She wants to help the church. She's a huge-hearted person and that's what they prey on,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell said he’s contacted state and local authorities, but they’ve had no luck getting the calls to stop.

The Better Business Bureau says more than 500,000 people in the United States and Canada fell victim to lottery scams last year, losing more than $117 million.

The BBB says senior citizens are the most frequent target and they suffer the biggest losses.

One thing to keep in mind: True lottery or sweepstakes will never ask for money before you claim your prize.

Also, if a caller ever asks you to wire money or buy gift cards, it’s a scam.

If you have any questions, talk to a trusted family member or your bank before making any big financial decisions.

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