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Denver7 viewers help Lakewood senior citizen recover some of her losses to scammers

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Posted at 9:29 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 01:24:47-04

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.

DENVER -- Generous Denver7 viewers helped a Denver-area woman recover some of the thousands of dollars she lost last year to predatory phone scammers.

Like many senior citizens, Joan Howard wanted to believe a total stranger who said she won $2.5 million and a car. The phone scammer convinced her that she needed to pre-pay taxes before she would receive her prize.

Joan sent the money and the prize never came. She shared her story with Denver7 viewers hoping to help prevent others from falling for the same con game.

“I feel guilty because I was so in hopes it was true — I was just too eager," said Howard, as she looked back on her decisions. “It scared the P-Waddens out of my family and, you know, it just… it scared me and then it got threatening," she added.

“I certainly learned some bitter lessons,” the Lakewood woman continued. “I can't ever get my money — that money I lost is gone forever."

Earlier this month, Denver7 presented Howard with a check for $2,815, the money donated after Howard's story aired in February.

“Isn’t that wonderful," Howard said after opening the envelope. “I’m just so grateful that somebody believed that I did something right,” she added. “And, that I helped; (that) I did something for the community and I did something for people my age."

Denver7 viewers watching Howard’s heroic effort to warn others responded with generous contributions to Contact7 Gives. More than $2,800 was donated by viewers and that money will help pay her mortgage payment for the next two months.