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Postal worker helps bust lottery scam

Scam AlertScam Alert: Postal worker helps bust lottery scam

Foreign lottery schemes may be fleecing Americans out of as much as a billion dollars every year. The problem is so vast, congress is hearing testimony on the matter.

Often suspects are overseas, and that's a challenge for law enforcement. But here's a case where a perceptive postal employee helped bring a suspect to justice right here in the United States.

"Something is not right here. Why are you getting all these Express Mail packages from all over the US?"

Mary Santiago asked the right questions. She knows her customers and suspected one was running a mail fraud scheme based here in the U.S.

"I said, 'I don't know what is going on, but she is getting Express mail from all over and it's usually once a week. It will stop, it will start up again. Something is not right here.'"

Postal inspectors began tracking the Express Mail labels the suspect was signing and found a pattern.

Here's how the lottery scheme works:

Victims get mail containing fake checks or a letter saying they hit a jackpot. To collect their winnings, they're told to pay a fee, tax or other expense. The elderly are a prime target.

"They are preying on people who don't know any better so they can take advantage of them and use them as a pawn in their game," said Louis Diaz, U.S. Postal Inspector.

A sting was set up. The suspect was told she had a new package to pick up. She came in and was caught.

"I don't know how anyone could do that to someone, people lose their houses, they take out second mortgages, I feel good that we caught her," said Santiago.

Inspectors say you should check to make sure your elderly family members aren't lured into a similar scheme.

"These people worked hard for their money as they get into their elder years, we have to keep an eye on those most vulnerable," said Joseph Bunaskavich, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Postal inspectors were able to return some money to the victims of this mail fraud scheme.

It's worth repeating:  no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up-front.

Keep this in mind if you get letters or phone calls, and especially emphasize the message to elderly friends, family and neighbors.


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20 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by jamella724.
Page 1 of 2
East of Columbus, OH
United States
Member #120843
December 28, 2011
447 Posts
Posted: June 17, 2013, 11:55 am - IP Logged

The people that pull these kinds of scams are without shame and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

Maybe we should take away all the suspect's parents money (if any) and distribute it among the victims.

Life's Too Short To Be Unhappy Cool

    ShowMeTheMoney$'s avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

    United States
    Member #140525
    March 21, 2013
    119 Posts
    Posted: June 17, 2013, 12:35 pm - IP Logged

    I've seen news programs on these type of lottery scams.  The elderly gets scammed of their life savings, and it's just horrible! They target the elderly and sometimes the elderly lose everything like their homes.  They sometimes even get threats from these thieves.  The scammers call on the phone and threaten to hurt people unless they get paid.  This is just criminal and disgusting that they prey on the elderly.  No No

      ShowMeTheMoney$'s avatar - Lottery-050.jpg

      United States
      Member #140525
      March 21, 2013
      119 Posts
      Posted: June 17, 2013, 12:42 pm - IP Logged

      I think they taget the elderly because many of them are too trusting and have money saved up.  I'm glad this postal worker caught one of them, but the problem is a really huge epidemic.  It's hard to investigate and arrest them because many scammers are in foreign countries.

        ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
        United States
        Member #56506
        November 21, 2007
        6537 Posts
        Posted: June 17, 2013, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

        Good on the postal workers for keeping an eye out on these suspicious people and helping some of the victims get some of their money back.

        "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

          mjwinsmith's avatar - moon

          United States
          Member #391
          June 8, 2002
          16059 Posts
          Posted: June 17, 2013, 12:48 pm - IP Logged

          Heads up for this Postal Worker, they saw something and said something. Kudos to you for stopping this from hapenning to this U.S. Citizen.


          "Don't be a Dummy, Make 'Dat Money"

          Mjwinsmith's Blog Page:   http://blogs.lotterypost.com/mjwinsmith/

          "How to Play My Pick-4 System": https://www.lotterypost.com/thread/306450

            Think's avatar - lightbulb
            Marquette, MI
            United States
            Member #20541
            August 20, 2005
            705 Posts
            Posted: June 17, 2013, 5:15 pm - IP Logged

            "I don't know how anyone could do that to someone, people lose their houses, they take out second mortgages..."

            Congress fleeces people all the time.  Now they are trying to steal money every month on peoples electric bills.

            Steal and squander...probably learned by observing congress I bet.

              lottoguysocal's avatar - atlantis dubai_1118783i.jpg
              camarillo, ca
              United States
              Member #132476
              September 4, 2012
              144 Posts
              Posted: June 17, 2013, 10:04 pm - IP Logged

              by stander intervention at it's best.  glad to see there are people who don't just see something wrong and look the other way.

                sully16's avatar - sharan
                United States
                Member #81740
                October 28, 2009
                40299 Posts
                Posted: June 18, 2013, 10:33 am - IP Logged

                one scam down, many to go

                Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                For a lead role in a cage?


                                                            From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                  RedStang's avatar - tallman zps6gf4inoc.jpg
                  United States
                  Member #121961
                  January 21, 2012
                  3157 Posts
                  Posted: June 18, 2013, 11:24 am - IP Logged

                  Good police Postal work. Like most scams, the punishment is not enough to prevent them from trying again.

                    luckyshoes's avatar - butterfly neg.jpg
                    United States
                    Member #79502
                    September 2, 2009
                    6395 Posts
                    Posted: June 18, 2013, 11:32 am - IP Logged

                    We all know the drill, right?    Do not send money to win money.  No No       Good going postal worker !

                      dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                      United States
                      Member #82391
                      November 12, 2009
                      6290 Posts
                      Posted: June 18, 2013, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

                      Good job Ms. Mary SantiagoThumbs Up

                      I Love Pink & Green 1908

                        LottoGuyBC's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                        British Columbia
                        Member #116101
                        September 4, 2011
                        4033 Posts
                        Posted: June 18, 2013, 12:49 pm - IP Logged

                        Well Done Postal worker Santiago

                        "You have to be in it to win it!"

                          United States
                          Member #93947
                          July 10, 2010
                          2180 Posts
                          Posted: June 18, 2013, 3:43 pm - IP Logged

                          We all know the drill, right?    Do not send money to win money.  No No       Good going postal worker !

                          Yeah, these people are despicable, aren't they?  They remind me of those websites that get people to send them fees every month for special access to worthless information.  They convince people, sometimes as many as 800 of them, that sending these monthly fees will improve their chances of winning lottery prizes.

                            helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                            United States
                            Member #106665
                            February 22, 2011
                            19743 Posts
                            Posted: June 18, 2013, 3:53 pm - IP Logged

                            Wow i don't never get any mail how you get on the mailing List Unhappy

                            Let it Snow Snowman