ROCHESTER, Pa. (KDKA) — It's the time of year for giving but also scamming.
Law enforcement agencies are putting out warnings to the public to be aware of anything that may seem like a scam.
The holiday season started with Beaver Co. native Cassie Conner believing she'd received hundreds of thousands of dollars to surprise her family with.
But it ended with a scam, and she tells KDKA she lost out on her life savings.
The scam started Dec. 13 with a message from one of her friends on Facebook.
"She told me hello and everything and said I'm at the top of the world and I said why and she says she got this grant money," Conner said.
The person behind the Facebook message wasn't her friend, but someone impersonating her friend. That person told Conner through text messages that she qualified for a grant of $200,000. All she needed to do was send gift cards for the handling fees and tax.
Conner went to Giant Eagle and purchased dozens of Home Depot and eBay gift cards, totaling $5,200.
Hours later, Conner realized she wasn't getting that grant money when the scammer asked her for $6,500.
Over a dozen gift cards are now empty and Conner is out over $5,000.
"I had to break down and tell my son and he says, 'Mom, it's a scam,'" Conner said.
During the holidays is when the elderly tend to be targeted and everyone needs to watch out for anything out of the ordinary on social media, according to police.
"My grandkids are 12 and 14. I always give them Christmas money. Now I have no money to give them. I have no money to give my son and daughter in law," Conner said.
While the Rochester Police are investigating her case, Conner wants her mistake to be a lesson to others.
"There's a lot of senior citizen friends of mine and I don't want them to get scammed because I was stupid and did it," Conner said.
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