In this case, a post office manager became suspicious and helped one victim realize he was actually a victim before it was too late.
“They believe the scam and it`s hard to convince them that they were taken,” says William Gomez, Postmaster.
They are postal customers that William Gomez sees every day.
“You get to know your customers on a personal level and you know what they receive on monthly/weekly almost,” says Gomez.
This is why he became suspicious when he noticed one of his customers was coming in more regularly.
“Once there was numerous pieces, several weekly express pieces going and coming from out of the country a flag was set off an alarm immediately,” says Gomez.
The postmaster says he began to suspect his customer had gotten entangled in a lottery sweepstakes scheme.
“When you know something, you just have a gut feeling; you have to stop this because it could be devastating to someone`s financial future,” says Gomez.
Sweepstakes scams are costing Americans more than $120 million a day. Thousands of people are falling victim to the promise of big winnings.
“He basically was told he would be receiving a large amount of money as soon as he takes care of his end on it,” says Gomez.
Gomez says eventually his customer realized it was a scam, but it took a while.
“These scammers that do this thing are so good at what they do,” says Gomez.
Postal inspectors want all consumers to remember this advice:
“Nobody is going to require fees upfront, especially fees of several thousand dollars,” says Anthony Rose, a US Postal Inspector.
Postal inspectors say many of the victims of foreign lottery scams are elderly. If you have older relatives or neighbors, it is advised that you discuss these schemes and make sure they realize no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money upfront.