Widow loses more than $100 grand to sweepstakes scam - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Widow loses more than $100 grand to sweepstakes scam

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A billion-dollar sweepstakes scam is targeting senior citizens. Michelle Lauciello's mother lost more than $100,000 to these crooks.

"She received a phone call saying she won $2.5 million dollars and she had to pay the sales tax on it. I feel like if they can get her, they can get anyone. It's just that they are so persistent, evil, cruel that they can take that much money from a widow."

The con artists are working out of Jamaica and they convinced Michelle's mother to send the money $500 at a time."

Michelle says they took advantage of the fact that their mother was a widow. "It happened after my father died, and we think that is how she got caught up in this big mess because she was filling a void that in her life."

The family tried to convince her it was all a scam, but she kept sending money. The family was forced to take over her finances.

"It was heart wrenching, it was aggravating that she would believe this. That she would believe that you could win money, but you have to pay  money. We told her over and over and never again. We would keep telling her that you win something you don't have to pay."

Postal Inspector Frank Schissler said, "The fraudsters are relentless, even ruthless. They won't stop until seniors have no more money to send. Then they will recruit them to get money from other seniors."

Even if it already seems like common sense to you, make sure to tell your friends, family and neighbors that no legitimate lottery asks for money up front to collect a prize.

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