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Victim of "sweepstakes scam" warns others - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Victim of "sweepstakes scam" warns others

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Scammers approached an 80-year-old Waikiki woman on Facebook messenger, by posing as  her friend. They told the her she won $400,000, and they needed to deliver her winnings, but first she would have to pay some fees and taxes.  The victim says she's normally very skeptical but the scam was so elaborate she believed it was true. 

"It was so real with the friend and the and the tracking and the bank and the deposits," the victim, who wants to remain anonymous, told Island News.

When she finally realized it was a scam, it was too late. They had taken everything. She turn to the Better Business Bureau for help.

"Our role is to alert other people in the market place so they don't fall for it," said Lisa Nakao from the Better Business Bureau.

Nakao says there have been almost 700 reports of scams in Hawaii in the past 12 months. The sweepstakes scam is the third most common behind the fake tax collector and the phishing scam, where people try to solicit personal information. she warns people to always be vigilant about suspicious emails and phone calls, and to never pay up front if you're told you've won something.  She says that aside from the financial toll, victims also suffer mental health problems such as anxiety. The Waikiki woman says she hasn't been able to sleep at night.

"I'm up in the middle of the night and the first thing i think of is what am i going to do," she said. "How am i going to survive this with nothing?"

She says she has a heart condition and is now completely broke. She's had to borrow money from friends just to survive. 

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