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Consumer Alert: Foreign lottery scam costs retiree $100,000


Doris Galinas spent most of her life helping others. Now, the 84-year-old widow and retired nurse is the one in need of help. She lost a huge chunk of her life savings to con artists.

"They called and said I won a big prize from the Mega Millions and there were two cars," says Galinas.

Euphoria quickly turned to frustration when she heard about a catch.

"Taxes. You have to pay for the taxes, the state taxes, it never stopped," says Galinas.

Galinas began making payments, but realized she needed more money.

"They actually convinced her to go and refinance her house and come up with a large source of money," says U.S. Postal Clerk Daniel Stewart. "She refinanced her home at their advice and took out $151,000."

Galinas made frequent trips to the post office to send her payments, which caught the attention of postal clerks.

"We were concerned for her coming in so often mailing via Express," says Stewart.

They asked her if she was caught up in a scam.

"I believe every clerk who dealt with her tried to explain we didn't feel it was right or something wasn't right about it," Stewart says. "She said she was okay."

"They would say we just want to make sure you're not being scammed and I said oh no I'm not being scammed," says Galinas.

The clerks decided to notify postal inspectors about their concerns.

"They have absolutely no mercy when it comes to exploiting our senior citizens. So the best thing we can possibly do is talk about it, so that everybody knows how the schemes operate," says U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Gendron.

Galinas lost $100,000 to foreign lottery thieves.

"I thought I was too smart for that, but there's nobody that smart," says Galinas.

There are a few things to remember to avoid falling victim. No legitimate lottery will ask for money upfront if you've won. If you get a call or letter sa


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