Senior citizen wonders if she's victim of scam

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A senior citizen believes she may have fallen into a well-organized plan to take her money. So she contacted 3 On Your Side to investigate.

The woman you're about to meet thought she was investing. In fact, she and her husband have been putting money into something they thought was a worthy cause.

She says it's been going on for 20 years. Now she wonders what she's been donating to.

You wouldn't know it by watching and listening to her, but Anna Bracado is 88 years old.

"I was born December 3, 1919 -- horse and wagon day," she said. "Years is a state of mind not a matter of years."

Bracado says part of looking young is to not take a single day for granted.

"If it's my last day, I want to live it to the fullest," she said.

But recently something started bugging Bracado and it had to do with her finances.

She says for about 20 years, month after month her late husband had been donating to something called the Senior Citizens League for the "notch victims" cause.

"He's been responding to the mail from the notch babies and donating $10, $15, whatever," Bracado said.

Over 20 years that really adds up.

But exactly what are "notch babies"? Well, they're people who were born between 1917 and 1921, people just like Bracado and her husband.

Apparently, these folks are reportedly owed money because the Social Security formula was readjusted years ago, affecting their benefits.

As a result, some organizations like the Seniors Citizens League are trying to get access to that extra money, but in order to get that money, the organization says it needs donations.

"When you figure $10 a month, 10 years, 20 years, well, how much would that be?" she said.

Even after Bracado's husband died years ago, she kept donating.

After realizing her husband never saw a penny in return for all the money he donated, Bracado became worried she and her husband had been caught up in a scam.

"Hey, am I going to be dead and buried before they start passing on some of that money?" she asked.

So, Bracado decided to contact 3 On Your Side.

"I was like, jeez, it's about time I woke up and start questioning," she said.

Jim Pavletich with the Social Security Administration here in Phoenix wouldn't comment specifically about the group Bracado has been donating money to.

However, he did say, "As in everything be very careful who you donate money to and who you give personal information to."

Pavletich did confirm that "notch babies" do in fact exist. However, he says before any money could be handed out, legislation needs to be passed, and that battle has been going on for more than three decades.

As for the group that has been sending money to, well, they sent us a statement saying, "Notch reform is on pace to have more congressional support this year than ever before... without member donations, we wouldn't have been able to get as close to passage as we have."

They go on to say, "We're sorry to hear that Ms. Bracado has lost faith in this legislation, but would be happy to honor our guarantee."

The guarantee is that they will return Bracado's most recent donation but not everything she and her husband have contributed over the past two decades.

Bracado says looking back she wishes she wouldn't have donated anything and feels the money has been wasted.

"We've been donating all these years, when do we get noticed and taken care of?" she asked.

Senior citizens can continue to donate money to organizations like the one in this report, but if you do, you may never see that "windfall" you're hoping for.

Remember, this has been going on for 30 years and if it hasn't been resolved in all that time, you might want to consider hanging on to your money and spending it like you normally would in your golden years.