Warning loved ones about sweepstakes scams


Diane Hainer’s advice to her mother, Madalyn was just say, “no” but her mom refused to stop opening and reading lottery sweepstakes offers. Every one of them asked for an upfront processing fee.

“My mother would say, ‘I’m winning,’ I’d say, ‘Mother, when you send these fees in, this is a scam, a real contest, you go buy a lottery ticket,’ ” said Hainer. “At some point, she started getting phone calls”

The calls were non-stop, all day. So Diane and her siblings had their parents’ number changed but that did not put an end to the calls and scams.

“The mailings started out as one or two and then within two months’ time, the mailbox was stuffed,” recalled Hainer.

Despite her husband’s pleas, Madalyn continued to send money to the sweepstakes scam artists.

“I was really distraught with the fact that no matter what we said, my brother, my sister or myself even my dad, she {thought} we weren’t telling her the truth. She was going to win,” said Hainer.

Diane has some advice for the children of elderly parents living alone.

“If you notice that their mailbox is stuffed and they are talking about these contests all the time, you need to put your antenna up and you need to start asking questions,” she said.

For help opting out of mail solicitations, unwanted calls and junk mail, click here.

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