Consumer Alert: The next time someone tells you you've won millions, but you have to pay a huge fee to claim the money, hang up the phone. Too many seniors are falling for a scam that is leaving them penniless.
Leroy Thurston fell victim to this type of fraud. Thurston says, "The winnings would run anything from $1.5 million to $11 and $12 million."
Thurston, like a lot of people, was lured in by conartists claiming he had won a foreign lottery.
Thurston says, "They are real sweet and promise you everything and the next thing you know, they tell you to pay this fee and that fee. It didn't seem like a lot, sometimes it was a couple hundred dollars. Sometimes it was a lot more. "
Conartists will ask for more and more money until the victims have no money left.
Rodney Bohanon is a US Postal Inspector. He says, "A lot of these seniors targeted live alone and these guys are really good at befriend them, calling them often, telling them nice things and pay them a lot of attention."
Thurston lost thousands in four foreign lotteries he got involved in.
Bohanon says, "It's very disheartening to see a senior who is living on a fixed income and worked their whole life for their savings and to turn around and just lose it."
"If I had anything to do with it, " Thurston says, "they would all be in jail. That's the way I feel about it. Just plain greed, that is all there is to it."
Never pay a fee to receive money you supposedly won. That is a sure sign of a scam.