An elderly grandmother has told of how she blew £6000 of her pension on worthless vitamins after being caught up in prize draw scam.
Widow Ann McCorquodale forked out £40-a-week on supplements after being guaranteed a £10,000 pay-out in return. But the mail-order con lasted three years and has left the 77-year-old penniless with a house bulging with health products.
The irony is Ann can’t even use the vitamins because of existing medication she takes. Last night, she said: “I still can’t believe I let them con me for three years. I didn’t tell a soul about what was going on, not even my family, it was my secret. I felt horribly guilty.”
Retired nurse Ann, from Greenock, was lured by the promise that a huge cheque from Vitamail was on its way if she sent the company £40 order for vitamins every week. When the cheque never arrived, the pensioner considered cutting off all contact with the ruthless French firm and even wrote a letter telling them to leave her alone.
But Ann felt bullied and threatened by constant letters and phone calls and for years she continued to send postal orders to Vitamail’s Bedford PO Box number. Ann had hoped to use the £10,000 to make her dream of visiting her daughter and grandchild in Australia come true. Every week Vitamail promised she would have the money in 10 days and that a photographer would call and take photos of her with her cheque. They also sent her letters with pictures of other happy pensioners who had won the cash to keep her hooked.
Ann isn’t the only one to fall for the scam. Hundreds have posted comments on blogs and forums warning people to steer clear of Vitamail.
Last night, she said: “I feel so stupid and ashamed that I could have been sucked in by this scam. I was desperate to find the money to go and visit my daughter and granddaughter because my heart has been broken since they moved to Australia four years ago. Then when this letter came through the door offering a chance to win £10,000 I jumped at the chance. Now I feel like a total fool.”