HOUSTON, Texas - Many of the ruthless scams reported to Eyewitness News involve elderly and vulnerable people who are tricked out of their life savings.
On Thursday, one woman spoke to the U.S. Justice Department about the scam that hit her family.
This woman was brought to tears as she told of her 82-year-old grandmother who lost all of her money to a con artist. Her grandmother was so devastated by the scam, she committed suicide.
"It pains me to say this but she took her life because of this incident," said Houston resident Angels Stancik. She didn't hold back tears or anger. "These individuals preyed on her and on her good heart."
Her grandmother was named Marjorie Earl Jones. "What should have been some of the best years in the last chapter of her life was taken from her. She was robbed in every sense," Stancik said.
Stancik said her grandmother fell prey to a sweepstakes scam. As many have reported to 7 On Your Side, she was told she won money but needed to pay fees and taxes.
Jones ultimately sent all of her money to scammers and later had to borrow money from family members, took out all of her life insurance and then tragically committed suicide.
She died with $69 in her bank account.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Justice Department officials listened to Stancik's account. "It happens far too often in this country," Sessions said.
7 On Your Side is flooded with similar reports of sweepstakes scams, IRS impostors, phony tech support companies -- a new scam popping up every day.
Sessions said more than 200 suspects have been arrested in the past year for elder fraud schemes.
The FTC on Thursday announced a civil complaint in a sweepstakes scheme that allegedly bilked consumers out of more than $100 million and a tech support scam operating out of India.
"It is a despicable crime these people are doing, they laugh about their ability to defraud people," Sessions said.
While the feds crack down in Washington, a local retailer has set out to stop these scammers in their tracks -- and it's working. 7 On Your Side will have the story Friday night at 6 p.m. on ABC7 News.
Click here for more stories about scams.
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