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I-Team Consumer Alert: And the winner is...

Posted at: 07/23/2013 5:14 PM
Updated at: 07/23/2013 5:54 PM



Despite the many warnings out there, it can be so easy for someone to get caught up in these mail and lottery scams. I-Team 10 wants to help you protect your family from being scammed and facing possible financial ruin.

Margaret Williams, daughter of fraud victim, said, “My mother had an enormous amount of mail from the letter carrier in one day. I knew there was something fraudulent, it was just too much mail for an average day."
 
Her mother, Dorothy, had sent more than $5,000 to these various lottery contests.

Williams said, "This mail contains all sort of lottery, foreign lottery winnings. They are all scams, telling her she won an enormous amount of money."
 
Dorothy had gotten caught up in a vicious foreign lottery scheme. Lucky for her, Margaret works for the postal service and knows, first hand, how these schemes work.

Williams said, “Very disappointing that we live in a day where people who have worked hard their entire lives to have their financial resources wiped away because they are isolated. My mother lives alone."
 
Inspectors say these con-artists are primarly targeting elderly.

Williams said, “She found herself without her friends and people she would normally interact with and the mail had become her friend."
 
Margaret has told her mother she hasn't won a thing, but Dorothy is refusing to listen.

Williams said, "It's like it registers for that moment, but after that, she just goes back to the mail and just keeps opening it and puts some in one stack and the others in a another pile."
 
Postal inspectors say the cycle is frustrating.

Frank Schissler, U.S. Postal Inspector, said, "The fraudsters are relentless even ruthless they won't stop until seniors have no more money to send and then they will recruit them to get money from other seniors."
 
Inspectors say the most important thing to do is keep checking in with elderly parents and neighbors.

Williams said,"We have to drive that message home every day because every day she is receiving this enormous amount of mail with the same message, same scam and we have to get her to stop. It's an everyday turn."

No legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front nor will it come with fees or taxes that need to be paid in advance.