PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - There are all kind of scams out there and they're all designed to get your attention and lure you in. That's what happened to a Phoenix man who says he just wanted to believe he had won a lot of money.
Lynn Wiggins says he'll never forget the day he received a registered letter indicating he had hit the lottery and it was big. "$4.5 million plus a new Mercedes Benz."
The unsolicited letter claimed Wiggins was chosen because he paid his utility bills on time. And as a result, the letter said his name was randomly drawn. "This is their explanation of how they picked me."
But besides the letters, Wiggins was also sent a box that contained a metal container. "I have a suitcase that they claimed had $1 million in it."
Wiggins says the suitcase and information appeared to be from a well-known lottery. "It's Mega Millions out of Las Vegas."
Wiggins was told that inside the case had $1 million inside, but that a dye pack would explode if he tried to open it, essentially ruining all that cash. However, if he wanted the million dollars, he would be given a code to safely open it. But, to get the code and collect his winnings, Wiggins said he had to send a series of payments. "$600, $600, $900, $140, $600."
And by the time he finished sending those individual payments, Wiggins realized he was in over his head. "So far I'm up at $24,852."
That's right, nearly $25,000, gone. At this point, Wiggins knew he had been duped. "I'm a gullible guy I trust people too much, and this time I got bit."
Still curious about the briefcase, the retired mechanic retrieved some of his tools and got to work. He even showed 3 On Your Side what and how he did. "I have a scope. I can, so I went in I pried up to the box in the back, or the suitcase in the back, snuck it in, and there were gardening books in there."
Wiggins says he couldn't believe it. He basically sent $25,000 for magazines. "I kept wanting to think it was real."
3 On Your Side went to the legitimate Mega Millions webpage where they warn about scams like these saying; "No representative of Mega Millions would ever call, text, or e-mail anyone about winning a prize."
It's a painful and costly $25,000 lesson that Lynn hopes no one else falls for. "That was all my retirement money that I had saved up. $4.5 million was going make it better. I need a roof on the house I can't afford that now."
These scams target just about everyone but it's senior citizens that seem the most vulnerable.