Elderly woman who lost $74,000 to a lottery scam wants to warn others

A European lottery scam cost a Colorado Springs woman nearly $75,000. This is the piece of mail that tricked her into thinking she won $5 million. (Source: KKTV)
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV/Gray News) - An elderly woman named Virginia thought she won the lottery, but is out thousands of dollars from a major scam.

"It's terrible,” Virginia said. “It's bad. I feel miserable."

Virginia is out $74,000 after getting a letter in the mail last fall saying she won the European lottery.

"Altogether $74,500 and I really want everybody to know that these letters are a scam and they can cheat anybody and they are cruel people," Virginia said.

She called the number listed and a man told her she won $5,000,000.

But the guy told her she needed to help transfer some money in order to get her winnings.

“He'd send me a check, I’d put it in my account and then after that check has been cashed, he was telling me, send it to another person."

The person said that she needed to pay some fees.

“I was trusting 100 percent," Virginia said. "I said this is nothing for $5 million for that money."

Katie asked just how many checks Virginia wrote.

"Many of them," was all Virginia could respond.

Virginia finally found out it was a scam when a bank teller asked what she was doing with all the money she was taking out.

“The bank said, 'how come lately you are getting all your CDs [Certificate of Deposit] and everything?' Then I said, 'this one. This is it…' They said, 'it's a scam. Don't ever pay anything,' Virginia recalled.

"If you haven't played the lottery, then you haven't won the lottery," Sgt. Joe Matiatos with the Colorado Springs Police said.

Detectives with CSPD’s financial crimes department tell Katie, unfortunately it's nearly impossible to trace down the scammers because they are typically overseas.

“There's really not anything we can do,” Matiatos added. “The best that we can do is what we're doing now, trying to educate people."

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