Updated 5/31/17 at 11:55 a.m. to include fundraiser information.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An East Flatbush, Brooklyn woman was scammed out of her life savings after she thought she was doing a good deed.
The victim sat down with CBS2’s Ali Bauman Sunday to talk about the sneaky scheme that left her duped out of thousands of dollars.
A tear was running down Dorothy Edge’s face Sunday – almost three weeks since police said scammers stole her entire life savings of $28,000.
“I’m calling myself stupid, and I don’t want anyone to be stupid like me and get scammed,” Edge said.
The trick – known as the pigeon drop scam—might sound familiar. Edge said on May 11, a woman stopped and asked Edge for directions at the corner of Nostrand and Church avenues – but the divulged that she was from Africa and had just inherited a lot of money that she could not take home.
“She shows three letters — one from a high priest and one from three lawyers,” Edge said. “She cannot take back the money to South Africa because the government will confiscate it.”
Then the woman stopped a man walking by, who was dressed like a pastor. The woman recited her tale again, and the pastor offered to donate the money for the African heiress. To prove he would not steal it, the purported pastor asked Edge to help.
“The man with the Bible in his hand who said he’s a pastor and he’s going to help — that’s what caused me to trust – the pastor,” Edge said.
From there, the so-called pastor drove Edge and the other woman here to 31st street. He jumped out of the car and returned with a bag of his own cash to prove to them he was trustworthy. Then he drove the women to Edge’s home so she could do the same.
“From 26 years I came to this country I started saving that money — 26 years!” Edge said. “And I went down there and I showed it to them and said, ‘This is my money. If you leave the money with me I will give it to Saint Jude.’”
So Edge handed over her bag of money to prove her own honesty.
“She put it in a black kerchief and she wrapped it up, and that is where the money switched,” she said.
But when Edge went home and opened the bag up, all she found were pieces of newspaper. The pastor and heiress were gone.
When asked if there was one thing she had learned, she said, “Not to trust anyone — no one at all.”
Most scams involve a factor of greed from the victim, but Edge was trying to donate the money. What she gained was a bleaker outlook.
A fundraiser has been launched to help Edge. If you’d like to contribute or find out more, click here.