Elderly People the Easiest Victims in Lottery Scams - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Elderly People the Easiest Victims in Lottery Scams

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You may be able to spot something that's "too good to be true," but not everyone can tell the difference between a legit contest or lottery and a scam.

Sadly, the elderly are the easiest victims in these scams.

Betty Klassen, a contest scam victim, was devastated to learn she and her husband were out thousands of dollars.

"I believed them that it was a real thing and it was going to make our lives different," said Klassen.  "He said I won $3 million and if I sent $5,000 I could collect the money, so I sent him the money."

The former teacher sent money orders and cash cards to the address she was given.
Then they asked for more money.

Klassen admits she really thought she had won a prize - until her children forced her to face the truth.

"I told them I thought I was going to make a lot of money, and they said, 'Mom, that is a scam.'"

"This is her retirement savings, this is what she worked her whole life for and she is sending that money in a lottery scam in hopes of getting a lump sum in return," said Michael Roberto, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Betty's children immediately contacted postal inspectors who started tracking the case.  
Inspectors say Betty is not alone.
 
"It's someone's grandmother, it's someone's mother, it's someone's friend," said Roberto.

In Betty's case, the con-men not only took her money, they also stole her trust.
 
"What broke my heart is she didn't want to answer the phone because she didn't want to be scammed again," said Roberto.

Betty says she wished she had talked with her children about what she was doing much earlier.  She believes that could have saved her a lot of money.

You might have heard this before but it's worth repeating -- no legitimate lottery or contest will ever ask for money up front before giving you your winnings.

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