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Rip-Off Alert: Scammers use lottery prize, FBI threats on cancer patient

Kathleen Dolecki is battling cancer for the third time in her life. Unfortunately, it’s not her only challenge.

For several months, she was caught in the middle of a scam that robbed her of thousands of dollars.

She received a call saying she won a $50,000 lottery prize and a $10,000 grant from the government. All she had to do was pay the taxes.

Initially she sent a few hundred dollars. Then, she was asked to send more.

“They even talked me into a loan, an equity loan on my home because they said I was going to get all of the money back,” Dolecki said.

At one point, Dolecki said she realized she had no more to send. Then she was threatened.

“These so-called FBI agents contacted Kathleen and told her that she would go to jail for money laundering if she didn’t pay,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Shelley Carosella.

That’s what they had told me, they had basically wiped out everything I had.

Dolecki says the con men who called her New York home were ruthless. They knew she was sick and continued to push her for more money.

“They know that the elderly is vulnerable,” Carosella said. “And they’ll do anything that they can.”

Postal inspectors say be wary of any threats from so-called officials.

“Law enforcement doesn’t require a fee,” Carosella said. “They’ll never ask you for a dime. So if they do, then there it’s a scam.”

Consumers need to take matters into their own hands.

“Take a message. Get a phone number,” Carosella said. “Look up the phone number in the phone book or on-line in order to legitimize who they are.”

Postal inspectors remind consumers that no legitimate lottery will ask for money upfront in order to receive a prize.

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