Muriel Sedergren said she’d receive three or four calls a week but knew enough never to bite on the caller’s news that she had won a big lottery prize.
“My first question is ‘what’s this going to cost me?’” Sedergren said.
She said the next sound was the click of the caller hanging up.
Unlike Sedergren, however, many Vermonters, especially seniors, fall prey to lottery and other scams, and wind up losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The attorney general’s office and its Consumer Assistance Program, along with the University of Vermont, logged more than 1,700 scam complaints last year.
It’s the reason why AARP is holding forums around the state to educate Vermonters on how to prevent being a scam victim.
The state’s list of scams closely tracks the Federal Trade Commission’s nationwide list, which has exploded in recent years.
Phishing, 563 complaints; lottery/sweepstakes, 220; computer tech support, 95; imposter, 89; debt collection, 89; phony invoices, 87; security system, 76; telemarketing, 73; online advertising, 66; loan scams, 56.
Murnane encouraged anyone who has been targeted by a scam to contact authorities. If a transfer of money has been made, she said contact the bank or wire transfer company immediately to stop the transaction.