The caller sounded convincing.
“You won a Publisher’s Clearing House prize!” he said to the Kauai woman when she picked up her phone about 8:30 Tuesday morning.
First, she thought it was possible. After all, she had recently sent in an entry form to the sweepstakes. And he knew her name and had her phone number.
“Like anything, you try your luck,” she said.
But then, the caller asked some questions that set off alarms for the kupuna, who asked that her name not be used.
“How is your health?”
“Do you live near your bank?”
He wanted her to go to the bank because it would cost nearly $1,000 to claim her cash prize.
The woman was on full alert now.
“I don’t believe you,” she said. “Don’t call me anymore.”
And she hung up.
About five minutes later, the phone rang again. Same guy, claiming again she won a prize and she was making a mistake in declining it.
“He went on and on,” she said.
Again, the woman declared she didn’t believe him and hung up.
A few minutes later, another call. He was back with the same offer. Cash prize, but she needed to wire him nearly a grand to collect it.
“Did you get the money?” he asked.
This time, the woman said, “If you want to give me money, you come to my house and give it to me. You should know my address. I’m waiting for you.”
When the man insisted he was legit, the woman said her grandson was a police officer and she would be calling him next.
The scammer hung up and never called back.
The woman decided to call The Garden Island so it could share her story with the public and others would avoid making any money mistakes.
“He was so convincing,” she said. “But when he said, ‘You gotta go to the bank,’ I said, ‘Wait a minute’.”
The woman, by the way, told TGI her grandson is actually a firefighter, not a policeman.
“I lied,” she said, laughing.