When you’re on a fixed income, as so many of our older loved ones are, cash, a valuable prize, luxury car or exotic vacation would be a welcome windfall. But in these foreign lottery and sweepstakes scams there are upfront "shipping fees", "taxes" and other fabricated charges. Helping an older loved one who is repeatedly sending money to sketchy solicitations and promotions will require patience and understanding. Many older adults who actively engage in this type of behavior are not aware they are being victimized and will likely resist efforts to make them stop. No legitimate lottery will ask you for money to claim your prize.
There are plenty of warning signs to look for at your loved one's house:
* Constant phone calls.
* Piles of promotional materials and letters that proclaim they are a "guaranteed winner!".
* An accumulation of cheap trinkets and worthless "prizes."
Scammers are constantly working to defraud older Americans. Take time to reach out to your loved ones. Or someone else will.