by Diane Tuazon
ODESSA - The tough economy means a lot of us are keeping a close eye on our checkbooks, but one company is looking to scam West Texans out of hundreds of dollars.
One Odessa woman says, watch out, it all starts with a phone call.
For most elders in retirement homes, it's fairly easy to get a hold of someone in time of need.
But for 89-year-old Robbie Hamilton, the security alarm on her wrist couldn't save her from being a victim of a phone scam.
Hamilton received a phone call in September from a company called "Secure Life Protection" offering security systems for checking accounts.
"I've had security with my Mastercard and things, but I said I didn't need it anymore. And he kept talking about what he can do, and I couldn't tell you a thing he said, but he somehow knew where I banked," Hamilton said.
He convinced her to purchase a security system plan for 400 dollars, but also asked for more personal information, her bank account routing number.
"He said I'll tell you right where to find it, look on your check, and at the bottom is the number I need," Hamilton said.
Hamilton paid by phone, but she later realized that she didn't wanted the service and canceled.
She was promised a refund in October, but never heard from the company again.
Instead, she noticed something suspicious on her bank statement.
"They charged me twice, and now the bank fixed it where they won't honor another debit," Hamilton said.
That's when she realized it was a scam.
"I think he wiggled me a little bit, partly because I had been on medication, and I felt like maybe I said things I shouldn't have," Hamilton said.
Hamilton has since filed a police report and contacted the Better Business Bureau.
Despite the recent scam, Hamilton says she's doing just fine but worries for others who might fall victim to the scam.
"Just be a little more cautious about the information you give out," Hamilton said.
Hamilton says thanks to her children she's making it through the scam.
Others across the country have been hit as well.
The Secure Life Protection Company did not respond to ten other complaints against them since May 2008.
If you think you are a victim of a scam, you should immediately contact authorities and the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.org.