There's a local elderly man who's been scammed by professionals, and yet refuses to believe it!

Reading an eye-opening story in the Boston Globe reminded me of what has happened to this guy, who is among other residents of the SouthCoast hoodwinked by smooth-talking scammers. But because they feel so humiliated over their devastating losses, they normally don't share their story with too many people.

It started when a professional con artist called and convinced this SouthCoast senior, who has been a follower of Publishers Clearing House, that he was going to be the person in the TV commercial. You know, the one showing people rushing the door of a surprised winner with balloons, flowers, microphones and a four-foot giant check for $10.5 million.

So he received what looked like a legitimate letter of congratulations, with the Publishers Clearing House logo embossed on it. The excitement was overwhelming! He was instructed to not say a word about this sweepstakes bonanza, or it would void the offer.

Shortly thereafter, he heard from the person he thought was from Publishers Clearing House, who said in order to collect his prize, he would need to send a check for thousands of dollars, because there were taxes and fees that needed to be paid before he could collect his winnings. It didn't take long to deplete this local man's checking account and savings.

The scammer was so good at deceiving him, that to this day, he looks at the letter and still thinks the money is coming. He's been waiting close to three years for his prize.

It's a terrible thing to have scammed this SouthCoast senior citizen out of his life savings. But it's even worse to instill him a sense of false hope for something that's never going to come.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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