The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (PIS) held a press conference Monday in Pasadena to warn elderly residents and caretakers about lottery scams, China Press (侨报) reports.
An Alhambra resident shared her experience as a scam victim during the press conference. She received phone calls in 2009 telling her that she had won $2.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz car, but that she needed to send $1,200 for insurance and federal tax. When she sent the check, the scammers asked her to mail an additional $70,000 for California state tax, but she declined due to not having received her award. In 2011, the scammers contacted her again and asked her to mail a $5,000 check to Georgia to obtain her initial award. The PIS became aware of her case when she sent the check and returned the $5,000 to her.
Regina Faulkerson, assistant postal inspector of the Los Angeles division, said that U.S. consumers have reportedly lost $4.3 million in the last three years due to lottery scams. Most of the victims are seniors. Anyone who feels they have been scammed or has any information can call the PIS at (877) 876-2455.