I-Team 10: Lottery scam investigation

Posted at: 04/18/2013 6:07 PM
Updated at: 04/18/2013 7:41 PM
By: Berkeley Brean

Investigators say an elderly woman was ripped out of hundreds of dollars by what they're calling lottery scam and every single investigator in the Ontario County Sheriff's Office is handling one of these kinds of cases.

The Ontario County Sheriff says it is almost impossible to make arrests. So the best way to stop these lottery scams is to educate people to recognize the signs that they're being victimized.

The elderly woman lives in Ontario County. It started when Marie-Louise saw her name on a flier in her weekend newspaper. It said she won $7,000 and she said it looked official. She thought it was money that would finally let her visit her sister in Europe.

Marie-Louise, victim of Jamaican scam, said, “Since they connected it to the government, I figured it was legitimate.”

Marie-Louise called the number on the flier and was told to send $400 to release her winnings.
She did and the scam was set. They called her dozens of times over the next several weeks. The sheriff says they even hired a driver to come pick her up so she could send more money orders from Walmart.
And that scared her the most.

Marie-Louise said, “This other man came from Penfield and he said he was supposed to take me to Walmart and I said I didn't know anything about that.”

Sheriff Phil Povero says it was the driver who was hired who felt something was wrong and contacted them.
And this is what the sheriff wants you to know.

Sheriff Phil Povero, Ontario County Sheriff, said, “If they encounter people that are behaving this way, large sums of money that they're looking to obtain, green-dot cards or money orders to send out of the country, that we certainly urge them to contact the local police.”

Marie-Louise says the experience left her afraid.

Marie-Louise, said, “I just locked everything up here and hoped they wouldn't show up here.”

If you think your grandparent or elderly neighbor is getting victimized by one of these scams, call 911. Sheriff Povero gave us a list of 10 things people can do to avoid getting defrauded.