PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – For the second in the last few months an elderly woman was conned out of thousands of dollars in a lottery ticket scam.
The 83-year-old woman from Pembroke Pines lost $18,000 in cash, jewelry and merchandise, according to Pembroke Pines Police.
“They targeted this victim because she’s a senior and they believed she was vulnerable and an easy target,” said Capt. Al Xiques.
This crime comes on the heels of a woman in Hallandale Beach losing her life savings after falling prey to a similar operation.
In both cases the victims were approached by someone who said they needed help to cash a winning lottery ticket because of an immigration problem. The victims are promised a monetary reward for their help.
Pembroke Pines police have released surveillance video showing the 83-year-old woman shopping with the two con-artists. One of the suspects is wearing a blue shirt and white pants while the second suspect is seen wearing a knit cap with a large flower.
The suspects spoke Spanish and said they were from Cuba. The 83 year old victim is from Cuba and speaks Spanish.
They met in the parking lot of Sedano’s Supermarket on Pines Boulevard.
Other shoppers are outraged over the scam.
“Nobody gives you a million for five, six or ten thousand dollars,” said Manny Acosta.
“I feel bad that happened before. She thinks she’s gonna make more money. They get crazy about money,” said Nelson Izquierdo.
Police say the money is certainly an incentive but sometimes victims are too trusting or they feel they understand the would-be scammer’s predicament.
As to whether the Pembroke Pines case and the Hallandale Beach case are connected, Capt. Al Xiques says, “The possibility exists it is connected to a bigger crime ring but we don’t have specific proof of that.”
To avoid being scammed he says follow the old adage, “if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Verify with someone you trust or call the police to see if they’re legitimate or not.”
Also there is no reason to believe someone can’t cash a winning lottery ticket.
According to the Florida Lottery if you lack identification you can have two witnesses sign an affidavit to vouch for your identity.
Anyone with information in either of these cons is urged to call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.