KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Clay County Sheriff's Office is calling almost epidemic, as scammers are preying on seniors in record numbers, swindling victims out of thousands of dollars.
That's what happened to 80-year-old Northland resident Patty Loughnane, who was told by scammers that she would become an instant millionaire. But instead, she says that became an instant fraud victim with an empty checking account - a victim in a scam that authorities say is sweeping Clay County.
Loughnane, a retired receptionist who says that she enjoys playing online lotteries, says that a man with a Jamaican accent began calling her incessantly in January, telling her that she had won several lotteries and cars.
"I made the mistake of giving them some money, and then of course they wouldn't leave me alone," said Loughnane.
She says that she believed him, and over time ended up sending the sweepstakes scammer over $65,000 - emptying her bank account.
"I'm a little upset about it you know, because at that time it happened I caleld the FBI," said Loughnane.
According to investigators, Loughnane eventually changed her phone number. But then the desperate scammers even tried calling the Clay County Dispatch Center, pretending to be her son and asking for her new phone number.
Authorities are warning elderly people to never give out credit or debit card information, or any other personal information, to strangers over the phone or online.
Loughnane says that she has learned her lesson.
"I am not registering for any more contests, but I have since heard that I've won all kinds of money," said Loughnane. "I don't believe them now."