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Avoid Being Caught in Vicious Cycle of Lottery Scams
Here's a story that drives home the point that there are con artists out there that just won't give up until they've drained their victims of every dime they have. But there are ways to avoid being caught up in a vicious cycle of greed.
Margaret Williams, daughter of fraud victim explained, "My mother had an enormous amount of mail from the letter carrier in one day..." And that concerned her.
"I knew there was something fraudulent, it was just too much mail for an average day,' said Williams.
Her mother, Dorothy, had sent more than $5,000 dollars to these various lottery contests.
"This mail contains all sort of lottery, foreign lottery winnings they are all scams - telling her she won an enormous amount of money," Williams said.
Dorothy had gotten caught up in a vicous foreign lottery scheme. Lucky for her, Margaret works for the Postal Service and knows, first hand, how these schemes work.
"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," Williams said.
Inspectors say these con artists are primarly targeting elderly.
"She found herself without her friends and people she would normally interact with and the mail had become her friend," said Williams.
Margaret has told her mother she hasn't won a thing, but Dorothy is refusing to listen.
"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, US 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.
"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," Williams said.
Keep in mind--no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money upfront - and no legitimate lottery has fees or taxes that need to be paid up front.