Consumer

Postmaster helps prevent more victims of sweepstakes scam

Thursday, February 20, 2014

U.S. Postal inspectors say a scam involving hundreds of millions of dollars is an easy trap.

However, one post office manager stepped in to help prevent more victims.

"They believe the scam, and it's hard to convince them that you were taken," said Postmaster William Gomez.

"They" are postal customers that William Gomez sees every day.

"You get to know your customers on a personal level, and you know what they receive monthly/weekly almost," said Gomez.

Which is why he became suspicious when he noticed one of his customers was coming in more regularly.

"Once there was numerous pieces, several weekly express pieces going and coming from out of the country -- a flag was just set off an alarm immediately," said Gomez.

The postmaster says he began to suspect his customer had gotten entangled in a lottery sweepstakes scheme.

"When you know something, you just have a gut feeling, and you have to stop this because it could be devastating to somebody's financial future," said Gomez.

Sweepstakes scams are costing Americans more than $120 million a day. Thousands of people are falling victim to the promise of big winnings.

"He basically told me that he would be receiving a large amount of money as soon as he takes care of his end on it," said Gomez.

Gomez says eventually his customer realized it was a scam, but it took a while.

"These scammers that do this thing are so good at what they do," said Gomez.

Here's a tip: no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money upfront.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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safe from scams, scams, consumer, jason oliveira
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