Consumer Alert: Elderly woman falls victim to lottery scam
Jean Adams lost thousands in a foreign lottery scam.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Jean Adams when criminals robber her of thousands of dollars before she had a chance to realize what was happening. She thought she was paying fees toward a multi-million dollar lottery win.
“They are really good," says Jean Adams, a fraud victim. "It was so believable. Now, I would know better.”
Adams has learned her lesson, but it was a costly one.
“It was $4 million sweepstakes," says Adams. "They needed so much money because the vaults would not open until they had the very final payment.”
So Adams sent the small payment, and additional payments, until she realized she had sent thousands of dollars.
“They always wanted you to send cash or something that," says Adams. "I guess so it could not be traced.”
After months of payments, Adams became suspicious and decided to stop answering the phone, but the calls didn’t stop.
“They were very relentless," says Adams. "Sometimes in the night always in the daytime, and this went on for months, months, and months.”
The scam artists became so desperate they even sent a taxi cab driver and a food delivery van to Adams' home.
“They couldn’t reach me and were trying to find out, if I was still here,” says Adams.
“If they lose contact with them, they are going to go through any means to establish that contact," says Scott Barber, a U.S. Postal Inspector. "To them, there is no limit on that. As long as they can get those people to send them money, they will continue to go back to that same individual.”
Postal inspectors say some con men go as far as using police to help them.
“They would contact the local authorities and say they are family members,” says Barber.
They would then ask police to see if their victims are still in the same location.
The elderly are the most common targets of these foreign lottery scams and they are losing millions of dollars a year.
Postal inspectors have a warning.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it's probably illegal," says Barber.
Postal inspectors say it's important for all families to remember that no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front.
Also, if your parents live alone, be sure to look or ask what kind of mail they are receiving and ask them if they are getting any sweepstakes or lottery letters in the mail.
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