Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Older Americans and the people who care for them can protect their family and finances by learning more about new ways to avoid old scams.
What Criminals Do
Often, the problem is a scam involving foreign lotteries. Americans have lost millions of dollars to these scams. These crimes can seriously affect the lives of their victims and their families.
The criminals tend to talk a good game and the elderly are often the target of foreign lottery scams. The scammers can “spoof” caller ID to make it look like they’re calling from the U.S. or even a government agency. The criminals may ask you to pay to play—by wire, check, money order or cash. They may try to get you to send money that’s just for “taxes and fees.” Scammers might even provide a check or money order as an advance on the winnings, with instructions to cash and return the proceeds in order to receive the winnings. That’s not a good idea; more than just the odds are against you.
Fortunately, The United States Postal Inspection Service is out to stop these criminals—and you can help.
What You Can Do
If you or a loved one receives an unsolicited offer, Postal Inspectors recommend that you:
• Hang up the phone or delete the e-mail;
• Don’t give out personal or financial information to anyone over the Internet or phone;
• Never wire or send money to anyone, anywhere who says you have won a foreign lottery;
• Don’t let anyone pressure you into making an immediate decision;
• Never purchase anything until you get all information in writing.
What The Law Says
Foreign lotteries aren’t just a risky proposition for American consumers; under many circumstances, they are also illegal. A federal statute prohibits mailing lottery tickets, advertisements or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery.
What’s Being Done
Combating foreign lottery fraud is a top priority for The U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Inspector Paul Krenn says if you suspect you’re a victim of a fraud or have received a suspected fraud through the U.S. mail, you should report it to www.deliveringtrust.com.
You can find more information on fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim at that same site.