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American authorities are working with an 82 year old man so they can catch the people who scammed him out of $35,000.

They believe he was targeted because seniors are often more trusting.

The briefcase with a combination lock was delivered Monday to the victim’s home in Gaston County. The victim is in the early stages of dementia.

There was a notice claiming there was $1 million in cash inside, but he had to pay the taxes on it to get the combination.

The man paid $35,000 and never got the combination. Police X-rayed the suitcase and there was nothing inside.

"(Senior citizens) believe anything,” Judy Avery, 62, said. “They don't think people are dishonest."

She knows because she was scammed by a letter promising lottery winnings.

"You have got to be smarter than them," Avery said.

Senior citizens told reporter Ken Lemon they are bombarded daily by phone and mail from scammers.

"Made to look like federal or state official mail," Jay Keener, a senior citizen said.

The administrator of The Gaston County Senior Center said many seniors are looking for financial assistance to pay mounting bills. Ellen Fenters has talked to some who were scammed.

"They were in a desperate situation in needing money for their prescription drugs and food," Fenters said.

They are all frustrated that this man was tricked into believing that financial security was in his hands, but instead he got an empty promise and a lighter wallet.

Seniors often want to prove they can be self-reliant and many are reluctant to tell police when they have been scammed.
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