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      Money Talks : The Contest You Never Win

      The Contest You Never Win
      Benjamin Bush... how can I help you sir? I want to speak to Miss Reta."Carter, do you have a grandmother? How would you feel if I took every single thing your grandmother had?Every one that came in was like that. Different name, different person that I entered these contests with.Why would you want to steal from a little old lady?Tons of mail, announcing 82-year-old Reta, was a winner. The catch? She's got to send them money to get the big prize.They want money down here. They want $35. Extraordinary sweepstakes I won."Reta is a victim of a scam known as "Jamaican Lottery Fraud."People are solicited through mail, email or telephone, saying they've won the lottery and they're asked to pay a tax to get the winnings. And what it is is really a scheme that originated out of Jamaica, by Jamaican nationals, in order to defraud Americans out of their hard-earned money, particularly the elderly.a longtime family friend, first noticed a problem three years ago.She started telling me about this lottery, that she won two new cars and then as I got in deeper, she was telling me that she had to send handling fees and money to them on a couple of occasions. I started asking the amounts and she was getting into the thousands of dollars.That's $18,000 worth, just from this year."more than $50,000. Despite her friend John's help, Reta's lost that much to scams by phone and mail: foreign lotteries, prizes, contests, all with one thing in common: she's got to send them cash to claim her prize. And she's not alone. Americans lose millions of dollars to fraud every year.If somebody lives alone, if you're a caretaker, a family member, a friend, stop by and talk and check to see if there's anything like bank accounts or checks that are out there that may indicate they may be a victim of a fraud such as this."Postal Inspector Alvarez "If someone calls you and tells you they're Inspector Alvarez, or a postal inspector, it's not us. We don't call. We come in person."US Postal Inspectors have been working with Reta, but her money is gone, and the phone is still ringing.about all she has left is words for the people who preyed on her...I'll be glad to get rid of you. You're scum of the Earth."Standup then website Bottom line? Learn about this scam and others like it. Learn about the signs so you can help others that might need it. And always go to the authorities if you suspect there's a problem. If you want more information on this, we've got plenty. It's waiting for you right her at and search for "Scams." For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.