13 On Your Side: Overseas scams
NATIONWIDE (WGME) -- We are right in the middle of national consumer protection week. It's a nationwide campaign to inform and encourage consumers to take advantage of their rights and make informed decisions.
News 13's Jon Chrisos is On Your Side with the warning signs of a new foreign lottery scam.
A News 13 viewer dropped this letter off at the station. It's from the UK suggesting he won a $950,000 prize. Turns out, it's a scam and a lot of people are falling for some of these slick tricks.
These consumers lost thousands of dollars in foreign lottery scams. Scam operators use the phone and mail to lure them in with the promise of instant wealth. The victims, who never entered their names in a lottery, all got mail containing fake checks, or a letter saying they'd hit the jackpot. To collect their winnings, they were told they had to pay a fee, tax or other expense. In each case, it was a scam.
Despite the efforts to stop this kind of scam from happening, the solicitations that get through cost victims $120 million in losses in just a year.
Conmen also use the phone. Telemarketers "guarantee" you have won valuable prizes like vacations, cars or cash. But again, they ask for a bogus fee up front. Sadly, they also prey on the elderly.
If you ever get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster. And always remember, there's no way to win a lottery you have never entered.
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