This is Lucille. That isn’t her real name, and she doesn’t want us to show her face because of what she just went through. Lucille took to Facebook recently to message a friend of a friend who happened to be a pastor, Bobby Young.
“To start a conversation about coming to our church,” says Lucille.
But she didn’t realize the preacher’s Facebook account had been hacked by scammers who responded to her asking if she was interested in a federal grant, which sounded good at the time.
“I’m living on disability, and I need some repairs and then I wanted to help my church.”
The man sounded convincing, telling her he had gotten a $300,000 grant himself, no problem. And why wouldn’t you believe a pastor who tells you he’s “putting you in his prayers” and “God bless you”?
“It was just so convincing.”
He put her in contact with another scammer—who was masquerading as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and told her she’d have to pay.
“You had to pay, I think it said $1500.”
Lucille borrowed money and even pawned the title to her car. They kept asking for money until she had given them $6,000. She was at the hair salon when the scammer asked for another $7,000 when her hair stylist noticed and told her it was a scam.
“And when she said that I just went to pieces.”
“If you think it’s a friend, you need to actually contact them, speak with them,” says Detective Laura Soulier with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Soulier says you can’t take anything for granted.
“And we need to check and double check and then check again before we start sending all of our money to wherever.”
“I hope everybody would be aware. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy cause this is the worst thing. I’m on a fixed income. It’s only so much I have,” adds Lucille.