It's a story that's becoming very familiar--people losing money after getting duped by con artists in a foreign lottery scam.
One woman who fell victim to these scams on multiple occasions is speaking out in effort to warn others about how they can ruin your life.
Reta Gail George's saga started in 2011 when she was told she had won a Mercedes Benz that was on its way to her home.
"We're at the state line Miss George, we need $35,000. Well I don't have no $35,000," George said.
But the con artists were relentless.
"I said, 'you didn't tell me I had to pay any money for it.'
'Well, yes, you have to pay income tax on it, that's the tax on it.'"
This was just the start. Since then, Reta has lost more than $70,000 in various foreign lottery scams.
Her name and phone number were put on a so-called "lead list" for other scammers to access her information.
"It got bigger and bigger and more people calling me for money and finally it got so big I had 64 calls in one day," George said.
Reta eventually called police about the calls, who told her this:
"They said, 'Ms. George, it's a scam. It's repetitious that's all it is - you're just giving your money away for nothing.' Finally I caught on and said this is it. This is too much."
Postal inspectors were alerted to Reta's case and were able to intercept one of her payments to the criminals.
"We were able to recover $13,000 in money orders--wonderful," said Blanca Alvarez, U.S. Postal Inspector.
Reta has strong words about people who prey on the vulnerable.
"They have no conscience, they push you and try to get more money out of you and if you don't say no they will take your home, they will take your money and leave you in the street and that's where a lot of people are now. It's terrible."
Again, the most important thing to remember, no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front.
If you get a letter or phone call, don't buy it, and report it to authorities.
Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:56:42 GMT
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