Published: Aug 29, 2014 6:48 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 29, 2014 6:51 PM EDT

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Last week Joan Milligan got a call that would change her life forever.

"I had a phone call saying that I had won $2,500,000. I was skeptical but part of me thought maybe I did," Milligan told WINK News Friday.

Unfortunately, that call changed her life for the worse. The man on the other line told her she had to pay $5 thousand dollars in taxes in order to receive the money, and then $7,200 more.

The scammers sent her two checks totalling $15,000 to help cover the cost, but by the time she discovered the checks she received were no good, she had already mailed them $12,200 of her own money.

"I'm an 83-year-old little old lady an it just killed me giving my money away, I should have known better," Milligan said.

Miligan says she mailed the the checks to a man named John Washington with "Heads Up Sweepstakes" at an address in Lynchburg, Virginia. She says it's the same man who called her from the number 1-876-829-3326.

Thankfully milligan's credit card company was able to give her back the $7200... but she says she'll never see that $5000 again.

"$5,000 is terrible, it's the money that we need for food and rent. I'm living in a trailer, I don't have extra money, and I don't know how I'm going to exist."

Never send money to any company before checking out their credibility with your local consumer protection agency.