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Rip-Off Alert: Alert postal workers save Army veteran from jackpot scam

A U.S. Army veteran says he got caught up in the idea of winning millions of dollars and lost his common sense. While remaining anonymous, he wanted to tell his story to prevent others from becoming victims.

“That was a big mistake,” the Vietnam War veteran said. “If it wasn’t for the post office, I would have been out a lot of money.”

It all began with a call claiming he won a multimillion-dollar jackpot and a new car. All he needed to do was send a money order for the taxes on the prize.

He went to a Maryland post office, where a skeptical supervisor inquired about his money order.

“I asked him, ‘Did he know who he was sending the blank money order to?’ And he responded, ‘No.’ It was for a sweepstakes,” said U.S. Postal Service supervisor Erica Lomax. “They told him to just send it blank. I told him it wasn’t a good idea to send a blank money order to someone that he didn’t know.”

Other clerks who knew the victim heard the story.

“Experience really dictates a lot of the things that you figure out,” said USPS clerk Mike Frederick. “You get to learn the ways of just life itself.”

“We said it doesn’t sound right, something is wrong with this picture and we said we pretty much told him it was a scam – it was a con,” said USPS Clerk Specialist Loretta Green.

The Post Office refunded the money order and realized there was no prize. However, postal inspectors say these con men will not stop with one attempt.

“Epidemic proportions of seniors being swindled out of their money,” said Postal Service Inspector Frank Schissler. “It’s affecting seniors that probably have maybe some cognitive decline, where they can’t recognize that they are making bad financial decisions.”

Postal inspectors want to encourage adult children to get involved like the clerks at the post office.

“They were able to see red flags,” Schissler said. “And that’s something that we need people across the country to recognize about their senior relatives.”

To protect yourself and loved ones, know the red flags. And, as always, if something is too good to be true, it likely is.

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