GASTONIA, N.C. -- A 73-year-old Gastonia woman said she wasduped 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She'd just withdrawn $340 in cash that morning from an ATM and he asked to see if it matched the serial numbers on the stolen cash.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.

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