Foreign Lottery Schemes Prey on the Helpless

The voices on the phone were friendly and persistent and they convinced an elderly widow to part with tens of thousands of dollars. Its part of a billion dollar scam that might target you next.

“She received a phone call saying she won $2.5 million dollars and she had to pay the sales tax on it”

Michelle is talking about her mother, who lost more than $100,000 in a lottery sweepstakes scam.

“I feel like if they can get her – they can get anyone. It’s just awful that they are so persistent, evil, cruel that they can take that much money from a widow,” said Michelle.

“They” are con-artists in Jamaica, who convinced Michelle’s mother to send the money to get her winnings.

“She was sending $500 dollar increments,” Michelle told us.

Michelle says the voices on the phone were very persuasive and preyed on the fact that their mother was a widow.

“It happened after my father died, and we think that is how she got caught up in this big mess because she was filling a void that in her life,” Michelle explained.

The family repeatedly warned their mother that this was a scam –but she continued sending money.

“They were brainwashing her basically… is what they were doing,” said Michelle.

Michelle’s family was forced to take over their mother’s finances.

“It was heart wrenching, it was aggravating that she would believe this… that she would believe that you could win money but you have to pay money we told her over and over and never again we would keep telling her that you win something you don’t have to pay,” Michelle said.

Foreign lottery schemes may be fleecing American’s out of as much as a billion dollars every year…and its getting worse.

US Postal Inspector Frank Schissler explained, “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.”

Always remember--no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up-front. Keep that in mind when you receive calls, letters in the mail and especially emphasize that message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.

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