By Liz Collin

LITCHFIELD (WCCO) — A Litchfield man thought he was doing some good when he sent money to so-called charities. Instead, he lost nearly $20,000 dollars.

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For nearly four months, 85-year-old Calvin Arvidson began responding to letters from what he thought were charities, including children with cancer and veterans groups. He ended up writing 150 checks and spent $7,500.

“I thought I was doing something good,” Arvidson said.

However, in February, when Arvidson wanted to sell his home, his stepdaughter, Linda Kmitch, needed to look at his checking account. She found some that the “charities” were taking money out of Arvidson’s account automatically.

“We found this out accidentally. That’s the worst part of it,” Kmitch said.

When she tried to stop payment, companies would change their names to get by the system.

“In four months, it was $19,000,” Kmitch said.

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For months, Kmitch has had to sort through her stepdad’s junk mail.

Arvidson would initially get about two pieces of junk mail a day. When he started responding and sending money back, it turned into 20 pieces of mail. Then Arvidson began getting phone calls.

“We had to change his phone number,” Kmitch said. “Ten harassing calls a day.”

He eventually had to close his checking account. Kmitch is now making sure Arvidson throws most of his mail away.

“I think many elderly are being scammed in this way,” Kmitch said.

When Kmitch told police about what happened, they told her there’s not really much she can do. An officer thinks the companies were selling Arvidson’s name to other companies.

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There are a couple things you can do to cut back on junk mail and you can find that information here.

Liz Collin