Consumer Alert: Victim loses $200,000 in lottery scam
The woman hiding her face lost her life savings to a popular scam.
One scam victim is warning others about letter she received that told her she won millions of dollars.
"They fool you. They say, "We are in the process of getting it to you," but you don't get anything," says a woman who does not want to be identified.
The woman does not want to show her face or allow us to tell you her name. She fears con artists will continue to target her and her money.
Her nightmare began with this letter telling her she was guaranteed to win $2.5 million in a lottery sweepstakes. All she had to do was pay a processing fee and taxes.
"She was under the impression that once you started to send money, she would start receiving her awarded money. Little did she know, she kept sending money, more money and eventually she was never receiving anything," says Eric Casarez, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
In all, the victim in this case lost $200,000.
"She lost her entire life savings. She is living on her own. She has no one to go to. At this point, she is now struggling to pay her bills and figuring out what to do next," says Casarez.
Senior citizens are often the target of lottery sweepstakes scams, because they can be more vulnerable.
"Targeting a victim they know who lives alone, who has no one to go to to question these type of solicitations that come in the mail," says Casarez.
Postal inspectors say every family with an elderly relative living alone should keep that in mind.
"Once they gain your trust and they see that you are following their instructions, almost a daily basis, that you are sending money to them they start talking to you and they ask you more personal questions," says Casarez.
The scam artists convinced the victim in this case to cash in an IRA. They only learned she had one by questioning her on the phone.
Inspectors have this simple advice.
"They need to stop answering the phone. Never give your personal identifying information to anyone you don't trust," says Casarez.
Postal inspectors remind consumers that no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up front.