The sheer volume of mail sent to Sheree Nudd's mother should have been a red flag.
"This, for example, would be maybe a day's worth of mail, maybe two days. One day I counted that she received 85 pieces of mail," said Sheree.
They were all scams. They were letters supposedly from Reader's Digest and the IRS. They were offers of cheap jewelry as bait; all of the letters promising big prizes including new cars.
Sheree's mother, Bette, fell for all of them and wired away her retirement savings.
"We believe she lost somewhere north of $200,000, her life savings. And they left her with nothing but debt," said Sheree.
"Seniors in this country are under attack. Basically from fraudsters who are operating lottery fraud schemes from outside the country," said U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler.
Sheree's mom is one of millions of victims of lottery scams.
"You know, these criminals have no conscience, they're insidious, they're evil, and they target elderly people because they know they are vulnerable," warned Schissler.
The problem continues to grow nationwide, so postal inspectors encourage consumers to go online and check their new website, www.deliveringtrust.com, to help families protect elderly relatives.
"Postal Inspectors are urging families to get involved as soon as possible. The sooner you get involved, the sooner it can stop. Unfortunately these fraudsters are so ruthless and so relentless that they won't stop until they've taken your senior relatives' last dollar," said Schissler.
Sheree added, "You will be involved at some point. The questions is: Do you want to be involved when there is something to preserve so that you can take care of your parents, or do you want to only be involved after everything is gone?"
The U.S. Postal Service's new website, www.deliveringtrust.com, provides tips on how families can spot signs that a loved one has fallen victim to mail fraud and some ways to stop it.
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