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Rip-Off Alert: Fee requests first sign for fake lottery

(News 3)
(News 3)
Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 9/06/2013 2:53 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The next time someone tells you you’ve won millions -- but you have to pay a huge fee before you can claim the money -- hang up the phone.

In this Rip-Off Alert, too many seniors are falling for a scam that is leaving them penniless.

Leroy Thurston, like many people, was lured in by con artists claiming he had won a foreign lottery.

“The winnings would run anything from $1.5 million to $11 (million) and $12 million,” Thurston said.

“They are real sweet and promise you everything, and the next thing you know, they tell you to pay this fee and that fee. It didn’t seem like a lot sometimes … Sometimes it was a couple hundred dollars. Sometimes it was a lot more. “

They keep asking for more and more until, finally, victims have no money left.

“A lot of these seniors targeted live alone and these guys are really good at befriend them, calling them often, telling them nice things and pay them a lot of attention,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Rodney Bohanon.

Thurston said he lost thousands in the four foreign lotteries he got involved in.

“It’s very disheartening to see a senior who is living on a fixed income and worked their whole life for their savings, and to turn around and just lose it,” Bohanon said.

“If I had anything to do with it, they would all be in jail,” Thurston said. “That’s the way I feel about it. … Just plain greed; that is all there is to it.”

Never pay a fee to receive money you supposedly won. That is a sure sign of a scam.


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