You've Won the Lottery! Just Send Cash - How to Avoid Foreign Lottery Scams

Share
Copy

AARP says the most common victims of lottery scams are over age 70, often women, and with lower incomes and education levels. Yet as the Curtis case shows, it can happen to anyone. "People think this only happens to dumb and senile people," said the FTC's Baker. "I can tell you that's not true."

Those behind the frauds are difficult to catch. They are operating outside the U.S., and making untraceable calls over computer networks. The money is almost never recovered. "Once it [the money] is picked up, it's gone," said Baker.

In their mailing this week to consumers, the U.S. Postal Service and AARP warn that if something sounds too good to be true, it is. They urge consumers who are contacted about winning a foreign lottery to hang up, ignore emails and throw out any letters.

One you're drawn in, it's difficult to get out. "These guys will call you 40 to 50 times a day. They will leave threatening messages. They will tell you they're watching you on Google satellite to scare you," said the AARP's Shadel.

The harassment and pressure devastated the Curtis family, according to Laura. She is convinced the stress hastened her father's mental decline. "It is so overwhelming at times to think about it," she said, "Once you are a victim, it is almost impossible to get away from it."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images