GASTONIA, N.C. -- A 73-year-old Gastonia woman said she was duped by a man who came to her house posing as a sheriff's deputy.
The scheme cost her $340 and she now keeps her blinds tightly closed and her front door locked.
She did not want to be identified but said she heard a knock on the door of her house last Friday afternoon.
There was a man there claiming to be with the sheriff's office and he said he was looking for some robbery suspects and some stolen cash.
She'd just withdrawn $340 in cash that morning from an ATM and he asked to see if it matched the serial numbers on the stolen cash.
She agreed to show him.
"I felt awful," she said after discovering he had taken her money.
She said the man was dressed in a pea-green suit.
Gastonia Police spokesperson Donna Lahser said that should have raised a red flag.
"If you are talking to someone who is legitimate law enforcement, they should be in a uniform or at least have a badge and ID," Lahser said.
The fake deputy left after telling the woman that he had checked her cash and left it in an envelope on a chair in the living room.
After he was gone, she thought she should take a look at that envelope.
"It wasn't nothing but shredded paper (in there), like it was pulled out of a book or something. That is the old flim-flam job," she said.
The woman said she has now learned a lesson about opening her door to a stranger, even one claiming to be a police officer. It is a lesson that cost her $340 in cash that she could not afford to lose.
"When you are on a fixed income, every cent is important to me."