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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Lottery Scam
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- This is a scam that cost one Boston area woman a huge chunk of her life savings.
So, here's what you need to know so you don't become the next victim.
Doris Galinas, fraud victim, said "When you realize it is happening to you - it is very different."
Everything is different for this 84-year-old widow and retired nurse who spent her life helping others. Now, Doris Galinas is the one in need.
"They called and said I won a big prize from the Mega Millions and there were two cars, a new Mercedes," Galinas said.
Euphoria quickly turned to frustration when she heard about a 'catch'.
She tells us, "Taxes. You have to pay for the taxes, the state taxes, it never stopped."
Doris began making payments but realized she needed more money.
Michael Gendron, US Postal Inspector, said, "They actually convinced her to go and refinance her house and come up with a large source of money. So she refinanced her home at their advice and took out $151,000 dollars."
Doris made frequent trips to the post office to send her payments, which caught the attention of postal clerks.
Daniel Stewart, a postal clerk, said, "We were concerned for her coming in so often mailing via express."
So they asked Doris point blank if she was caught up in a scam.
"I believe every clerk who dealt with her tried to explain we didn't feel it was right or something wasn't right about it. But she said she was OK," Stewart said.
"They would say we just want to make sure you're not being scammed and I said oh no I'm not being scammed," Galinas said.
The clerks decided to notify Postal Inspectors about Doris.
"They have absolutely no mercy when it comes to exploiting our senior citizens. So the best thing we can possibly do is talk about it so that everybody knows how the schemes operate," Gendron said.
Doris lost a staggering $100,000 dollars to foreign lottery thieves.
She said, "I thought I was too smart for that but there's nobody that smart."
Here's something important to remember: no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money if you've won. So, if you get a letter or an email saying congratulations you won but to get the money you have to pay first, don't do it! It's a scam.
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