Anyone Can Fall Victim to a Lottery Scam - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Anyone Can Fall Victim to a Lottery Scam


If you think you're not vulnerable to falling prey to con artists, you may want to think again.

In this Target 2 Consumer Alert, we found out that even the brightest people can be lured in by the promise of big money.

It sounds like a very typical scam:

"After my mother died, my father got some sort of letter in the mail, saying she won multi-million dollars," said Lawrence Hawkins, son of a fraud victim.

Hawkins says his father was instructed he first had to pay taxes on the winnings, and the con artists kept asking for more.

A telemarketing firm now had Hawkins' information and started soliciting him over the phone, too.

"It's really insidious, and these people are persistent and they don't know how to take 'no' for an answer," Hawkins said.

Hawkins' father was no doubt an educated man: he was an army veteran and former biochemist for the National Institute of Health. But he was in a vulnerable state, and the con artists took advantage of him.

"I think my father was lonely, and I think what these scam people did on some level was provided some kind of consistency," Hawkins said.  "There would be a consistent phone call coming in. The only thing my father got out of this was grief."

Lawrence says he wished his father had told him sooner, but postal inspectors say what happened is typical.

"It's the embarrassment, it's not wanting to a lot of times tell their families they have been victimized," said Lori McAlister, U.S. Postal Inspector.

"Anybody who thinks they will not fall victim to some kind of fraud or scam or what have you, take the extra step, make sure," Hawkins warned. "Check in with your parents, check in with your grandparents, check in with your aunts, uncles, check in with your elderly cousins. Whatever it is, check in with them and make sure everything is okay."

It is important for every consumer to know that no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front.  For more information, click here.

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