Beware of slick foreign lottery schemes

Posted at 7:51 PM, Aug 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-19 05:58:22-04

Fraud victim Ray Gibbs says he received a phone call informing him he was the winner of $250,000 and a new Mercedes.

“I needed to send them some money to ensure the check got here OK, and so I did that,” says Gibbs.

And once he did, there were more phone calls asking for more money, again and again.

“And boy, they are smooth talkers. They know what you want to hear in order to get the money out of you,” says Gibbs.

“These schemes and these fraudsters are very prolific. They don`t stop. And once you get on one of these lists, you`re going to continue to receive these solicitations,” says Joe Stephenson.

“I would get a stack this thick every day. It was horrible what was going on,” says Gibbs.

Postal inspectors estimate Ray lost $12,000 in this foreign lottery scheme. But he did have one stroke of luck.

Astute post office employees called postal inspectors when they saw Gibbs came in again with a package.

They intercepted the package and returned $5,000.

“It was very gratifying to return that money to him, you know he didn`t have that type of money. This was his retirement savings,” says Postal Inspector Joe Stephenson.

“I chock that up to a lesson learned, and move on, and never let that happen to me again,” says Gibbs.

He has some simple advice.

“When they get a call saying they won something hang up the phone because it`s nothing but a big scam,” says Gibbs.

Don't forget this important piece of information –no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up-front.

Keep that in mind when you receive calls, letters in the mail and especially emphasize the message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.