New Crime Wave Targets the Elderly

It has become one of the most serious crimes targeting the elderly nationwide. If you become a victim, you're likely to lose your life savings but there are ways to avoid that.

The sheer volume of mail sent to Sheree Nudd’s mother should have been a red flag.

Sheree Nudd, fraud victim said, “This, for example, would be maybe a day’s worth of mail, maybe two days. One day I counted that she received 85 pieces of mail.“

All scams. Letters supposedly from Reader’s Digest and the IRS. Offers of cheap jewelry as bait – all of the letters promising big prizes including new cars.

Nudd’s mother, Bette, fell for all of them and wired away her retirement savings.

“We believe she lost somewhere north of $200,000 – her life savings. And they left her with nothing but debt," explained Sheree.

Frank Schissler, US Postal Inspector said, “Seniors in this country are under attack. Basically from fraudsters who are operating lottery fraud schemes from outside the country.”

Sheree’s mother is one of millions of victims of lottery scams.

"You know, these criminals hav eno conscience, they’re insidious, they're evil, and they target elderly people because they know theyare vulnerable," said Sheree.

The problem continues to grow nationwide. So postal inspectors encourage consumers to go online and check their website to help families protect elderly relatives.

“Postal Inspectors are urging families to get involved as soon as possible. The sooner you get involved, the sooner it can stop. Unfortunately these fraudsters are so ruthless and so relentless that they won’t stop until they've taken your senior relatives’ last dollar," said Schissler.

“You will be involved at some point. The questions is: Do you want to be involved when there is something to preserve so that you can take care of your parents, or do you want to only be involved after everything is gone," said Sheree.

That new website from the U.S. Postal Service is The site provides tips on how families can spot signs that a loved one has fallen victim to mail fraud and some ways to stop it.

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