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Rip-Off Alert: Mom mistakes scammers for friends

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 7/30/2013 2:28 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- Foreign lottery scams and others like it are bilking consumers out of $1 billion annually.

Many of the victims are the elderly who end up losing their life's savings.

In this Rip-Off Alert, these scammers are ruthless and becoming hard to combat.

Marcia Jones and Cha Roberts are frustrated and feel helpless. Their 88-year-old mother, Elizabeth, has already lost thousands of dollars in foreign lottery schemes. The worst part is that she won't stop.

" ‘But Mom, these can't be real,’ and she would say, ‘No they wouldn't do that. It has my name on it; it has my name on it,’ “ Roberts said.

"She is convinced she is going to get a car and $30 million, and she will always ask, ‘What kind of car do you want?’ “ Jones said.

The sisters have tried everything. In fact, they wrote the postmaster general asking for help.

Their plea prompted a postal inspector and local police officer to come to their mother's home to explain the scams.

"She was very, very angry with us that we turned her in,” Jones said.

Despite the best efforts by authorities, Elizabeth still believes her big pay day is imminent.

"Unfortunately, she was a true believer in the fraudsters, and they had befriended her and thought she won something,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler. “We were unable to convince her she had been scammed."

"You trust strangers, but you don't trust your family and authorities who are telling you from their experience, that people like you are being scammed," Roberts said.

"The fraudsters are relentless, even ruthless,” Schissler said. “They won't stop until seniors have no more money to send, and then they will recruit them to get money from other seniors."

Elizabeth's daughters initially asked if all of the foreign lottery mail could simply stop being delivered to their mother's home. But the federal government is not allowed to interfere with the delivery of U.S. mail unless authorities believe it could be harmful.


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