The caller said she'd won $5.5 million and all she had to do was send a check for $500 to claim her prize.
Nassau County police said that was in November. The caller called again last week and asked for another $500 — then called again Thursday and asked for another $500.
Only, luckily for the 81-year-old victim, police said an alert U.S. Post Office employee realized something was wrong and managed to stop the woman from sending the third money order. The employee contacted police as the scam unraveled at a post office branch in East Meadow.
Now police are asking anyone else who might have been scammed — or anyone who knows of someone being scammed — to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-8477.
They are also warning anyone with elderly relatives and friends to be on the lookout for scams in which callers contact a potential victim and claim they have won a prize, that they are an attorney seeking bail for a grandchild who has been arrested, that they are an IRS agent seeking a delinquent tax payment, or that they are in need of an immediate payment for any other number of reasons.
Police remind the public that these are all likely phone scams targeting older victims this holiday season.
In the case of this 81-year-old victim, whose identity was not released, detectives said she sent two $500 money orders to the scammers — one in November, one on Dec. 6 — before the alert postal clerk realized there was something amiss and stopped the woman from sending a third payment.
Police want to make residents aware that they can provide educational forums regarding elderly scams and also remind residents to call 911 immediately if they are contacted by any individual requesting they send money, checks, money orders or gift cards for any reason.