“You dirty, rotten people:” Victim loses more than $70,000 in foreign lottery scam

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MILWAUKEE -- It sounds like a dream come true. You get a phone call saying you've just won $5 million! But there's a catch, and that's where one of the most popular scams begins.

"I thought 'you dirty, rotten people,'" a scam victim said.

Victim of foreign lottery scam

Victim of foreign lottery scam

That is the reaction a woman had after she learned she was a victim of a sweepstakes scam that cost her half her life savings.

She didn't want to provide her name out of fear she could be targeted again.

"They called me on the telephone and told me we had won something," the scam victim said.

She had won a $5 million jackpot -- but to collect it, she was told she would need to pay the fees and taxes. The first payment: $500.

"Like a dummy I paid them money on the Green Dot card," the scam victim said.

Victim of foreign lottery scam

Victim of foreign lottery scam

Green Dot cards are a popular component in lottery schemes. Victims are asked to put money on the card, and then give the scammers the number on the back.

"As soon as they have that special code, that special number, they can immediately load that money from the card to a card they have in Jamaica," Alexandra Papageorge, U.S. postal inspector said.

Victim of foreign lottery scam

Victim of foreign lottery scam

The victim in this case lost more than $70,000.

"They were mainly friendly. Just a friend talking to another friend," the scam victim said.

"Act like they are their best friend, try to remember their birthdays and find out all of those personal details that will allow them to compromise their identity even worse," Papageorge said.

The scammers were relentless -- calling the victim almost 40 times a day. And they didn't stop there.

"Somehow they got her number to her vehicle. So when they couldn`t` get through to her home, they called her OnStar system in her car," Papageorge said.

Postal inspectors were able to successfully change her phone number, but every family with an elderly parent should be on the lookout for this scam.

"Sometimes maybe somebody is just starting dementia, maybe they are alone most of the time, so these scammers actually prey on the fact that the senior lives alone," Papageorge said.

Foreign lottery scam

Foreign lottery scam


  • Peoplearedumb

    Grandma can call them “Dirty rotten people” all she wants, that doesn’t elevate the responsibility SHE has for knowing better or using a tiny bit of common sense. There are a TON of warnings on this out there, she could have asked anyone as well and they would have told her. Five minutes of research would have told her this was a scam. This has been going on for decades now and has been all over the news. Has she not turned on a TV or opened a newspaper ever? I just can’t feel sorry for people like this… not with all of the warnings out there already.

  • Grandma No Phone 4 U

    I’m sure the reason she doesn’t want to give her name out is due to embarrassment for being STUPID, not that she’s worried she will be “targeted” again. Although it sounds like she’s dumb enough she probably would fall for this again. Her family obviously needs to take away her phone privileges!

  • Fred

    I’m sorry, these scams have been common knowledge for years now. Greedy, stupid people almost deserve to get scammed if they think you get something for free. I can’t believe some of these elderly people fall for it after growing up in a world where every dollar was required for family survival with no fringe spending. If you have a loved one who is losing mental capacity, you need to watch them and be sure they don’t fall for it……there is no free lunch – or lottery winning.

  • chris

    Dirty rotten people love ignorant suckers. With all the media attention to these scams you have to be a complete idiot to fall for them. I guess these are the types that keep re-electing Barrett and Obama.

  • david

    Wow, hope none of you age and experience dimentia or alzheimers. I think it serves her FAMILY right in that their inheritance has now gone bye-bye due to their NEGLIGENCE of family!

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