Undated -- 2 Wants to Know gets calls and emails every week from viewers who think they've won something -- and the want to make sure it's legit.
Unfortunately, more times than not, their winnings come with strings attached -- they have to pay some fee or tax to get their prizes. And that's never a good sign. It probably means you're dealing with con-artists.
Glenn Anschutz was told he was the lucky winner of $3 million and a 2012 Mercedes Benz. The person on the phone said all he had to do was pay the fees to the mega millions so the winnings could be inspected and cleared for delivery.
Sadly, he sent thousands of dollars to a U.S. address. He said he though that since the address was in the U.S., the claim was legit and that he actually won something. But the truth was that the letter he received was part of a foreign lottery scam.
Bank tellers notified postal inspectors after a person started asking suspicious questions about wiring money. One man asked about wiring $15,000 a month.
Postal inspectors began tracking the money and eventually got a search warrant for the suspect's home. They found bank statements, wire transfers, deposits and withdrawals. Their discoveries led inspectors to fined at least 30 victims.
Johnson said, "One woman said her daughter was dying of cancer and her medical bills were piling up and she and her family didn't know what to do. She thought this [lottery] was a Godsend and could help her daughter in her final days."
They even found a note in the suspect's home from a victim begging for their money back.
Inspectors say the 5 suspects in this case were "middle men" to people in Jamaica running the foreign lottery scam. All 5 were indicted and deported back to Jamaica.
But the takeaway in this case is knowing that you'll never have to pay anything to collect winnings in a legitimate lottery.
If you experience telemarketing fraud of any type, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. You can call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) toll free, or you canreport it online.
WFMY News 2/US Postal Inspectors