Friday, March 8, 2013

National Consumer Protection Week: Foreign Lotteries ... You Can't Win!

(L to R) Inspector Ivan Ramirez, General Analyst Damaris Santiago, Inspector Blanca Alvarez, and General Analyst Larry Alfonso of the Miami Division team up to educate the public on fraud prevention during National Consumer Protection Week.   


(L to R) Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez and Ralph Garcia warn customer about the various types of fraud during a National Consumer Protection Week event in the lobby of the Fort Lauderdale Main Office.  Fort Lauderdale Postmaster Scott Bower and Customer Relations Coordinator Tashia Romano joined forces with the Postal Inspection Service.  USPIS General Analyst Elizabeth Collier displayed educational materials and brochures on foreign lottery schemes to help customers, especially older Americans, avoid being scammed. Postal Inspectors answered questions about bank fraud, identity theft, and credit and debit card fraud.  Photo:  Tashia Romano
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Money Talks News featured a segment:  “Foreign Lotteries:  The Contest You Can’t Win” for National Consumer Protection Week. 

It featured consumer protection tips from Inspector-In-Charge Jerry O’ Farrell from U.S. Postal Inspection Service Headquarters, and Inspectors Blanca Alvarez and Ivan Ramirez of the Miami Division. 

It highlighted an 82-year-old victim, who thought she had won a big sweepstakes prizes.  All she had to do was send cash to cover taxes and handling fees.  She complied.  As you may have guessed, the prizes never arrived.  But she did get more calls from con artists promising prizes.   This victim lost tens of thousands of dollars in the past two years.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Americans lost $42 million to foreign lottery scams from 2010 to 2012.  The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2 million consumer complaints in 2012, 52 percent involving fraud. 

Money Talks News is a consumer and personal finance news service that is syndicated in 80 network affiliates nationwide.  Hopefully, others will learn as this victim did that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”




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