LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) — The calls were convincing for the victim, letting him believe he had just won big money and a luxury car. In this Rip-Off Alert, the calls were part of a scam that is targeting elderly across the nation at an alarming rate.
“I grew up in a time when you could believe people,” said fraud victim Ray Gibbs. “And they sounded so serious and truthful – it really had me going.”
Gibbs was informed he was the winner of $250,000 and a new Mercedes.
“I needed to send them some money to ensure the check got here OK, and so I did that,” Gibbs said.
Once he did, there were more phone calls asking for more money again and again.
“And boy, they are smooth talkers,” Gibbs said. “They know what you want to hear in order to get the money out of you.”
“These schemes and these fraudsters are very prolific,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Joe Stephenson. “They don’t stop. And once you get on one of these lists, you’re going to continue to receive these solicitations.”
Postal inspectors estimate that Gibbs lost $12,000 in this foreign lottery scheme. But he did have one stroke of luck. Astute post office employees called postal inspectors when they saw Gibbs come in again with a package.
They intercepted the package and returned $5,000.
“It was very gratifying to return that money to him,” Stephenson said. “You know he didn’t have that type of money; this was his retirement savings.”
Postal inspectors remind the public that no legitimate lottery will ask for money up-front. Keep that in mind when you receive calls, letters in the mail, and especially emphasize the message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.