Protecting Loved Ones from Lottery Scams - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Protecting Loved Ones from Lottery Scams

Updated:

It can be difficult to protect your loved ones from losing money in a scam.

A woman named Margaret Williams is sharing her story about the constant struggle to keep her mother from losing more money.

 

"My mother had an enormous amount of mail from the letter carrier in one day," said Williams. "I knew there was something fraudulent, it was just too much mail for an average day."

Her mother, Dorothy, had sent more than $5,000 to various lottery contests.

"This mail contains all sort of lottery, foreign lottery winnings--they are all scams--telling her she won an enormous amount of money," said Williams.

Dorothy was caught up in a vicious foreign lottery scheme. Lucky for her, Margaret works for the U.S. Postal Service and knows first hand, how these schemes work.
 
"Very disappointing that we live in a day where people who have worked hard their entire lives to have their financial resources wiped away because they are isolated," said Williams. "My mother lives alone."

Inspectors say these con artists are primarily targeting elderly.
 
"She found herself without her friends and people she would normally interact with and the mail had become her friend," said Williams.
 
Postal inspectors say the cycle is frustrating.

"The fraudsters are relentless even ruthless they won't stop until seniors have no more money to send and then they will recruit them to get money from other seniors," said Frank Schissler, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Inspectors say the most important thing to do is keep checking in with elderly parents and neighbors.

"We have to drive that message home every day because every day she is receiving this enormous amount of mail with the same message, same scam and we have to get her to stop. It's an everyday turn," said Williams.

One suggestion: offer to help go through a loved one's mail. Relate to the confusion that comes with the large amount of mail.
     
Also, emphasize the criminal nature of the fraud, not your parents or grandparents' gullibility. Also, report the fraud just as you would other crimes.

 

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