Safe From Scams: Sweepstakes scams that target the elderly

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US Postal inspectors say sweepstakes scams are one of the most successful schemes in the country. (KFSN)

US Postal inspectors say sweepstakes scams are one of the most successful schemes in the country.

"Mom, it's your family or them," a fraud victim's daughter, Val Zitko, said. " What are you going to choose? You have to quit talking to them and she actually paused before she could answer devastating."

Zitko is frustrated and angry.

Her mother is caught in a sweepstakes scam and lost more than $15,000. But her monetary losses are only part of the problem, Val believes these conmen truly brainwashed her mother.

You can't stay ahead of these people. They've gained their trust, their confidence and they make them believe what they are saying.

Initially, Val's mother was told she won $8 million and a Mercedes - all she needed to do was pay the fee. But then the conmen began calling her every day asking for more and more money.

Her family intervened with the help of law enforcement and victim advocates but it has been hard.

We've changed bank accounts, we've changed phone numbers, we've tried to block phone numbers - I've blocked over 60.

Postal inspectors admit foreign lottery scams are hard to combat with elderly Americans.

"Scammers are very good at telling them don't tell your family members, because as soon as they find out all they are going to do is take your money," US Postal Inspector Kevin Freeman said.

Experts say loved ones need to intervene because no legitimate lottery will every ask for your money upfront.
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