I-Team 10 Follow Up: Driver unaware of lottery scam

Posted at: 04/18/2013 10:05 PM
Updated at: 04/18/2013 11:18 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Investigators say an elderly woman lost hundreds of dollars in what they're calling a lottery scam, targeting seniors.

Every single investigator in the Ontario County Sheriff's Office is handling one of these kinds of cases.

They say a local woman lost hundreds of dollars because of it and she's not alone. Victims receive a flier, perhaps in their newspaper, saying they won thousands, but have to pay hundreds to get it.

Marie-Louise called the number on the flier and was told to send $400 to release her winnings. She did and the scam was set. They called her dozens of times over the next several weeks. The sheriff says they even hired a driver to come pick her up so she could send more money orders from Walmart.

Sheriff Povero says it was the driver, who was hired who felt something was wrong and contacted them.

Sheriff Phil Povero, Ontario County Sheriff, said, "If they encounter people that are behaving this way, large sums of money that they're looking to obtain green-dot cards or money orders to send out of the country, that we certainly urge them to contact the local police."

What really takes this scam to the next level is that the scammers hired a third party driving company to go to the woman's house.

The driver, Patrick Cavuoto, says he has never heard of a scam like this in all his time with the driving service. Cavuoto says he was called by a man saying his aunt needed to be picked up and taken to Walmart. But when he arrived at her house, the woman said she didn't know what he was talking about and seemed to be scared and confused. She went on to tell him people were calling her and asking her for money. That's when the so-called-nephew called Cavuoto again. He wanted to know what his aunt was doing and demanded he tell her to answer her phone. This just didn't seem right so Cavuoto called police. He said that's when he realized the scam was going on.

Patrick Cavuoto said, “I got a little worried cause I said if they have her address maybe they will send someone out there to rob her, or try and get in her house and pull some other kind of scam. The thing that caught me was he didn't ask how much that was going to cost. He just said he pick her up and take her to Walmart.”

Cavuoto says he couldn't believe at how professional the people were on the phone with this elderly woman. He heard two different people talking to her telling her not to tell anyone in her family about her winning money.