DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – According to a new report by the Better Business Bureau, lottery scammers stole more than $100 million from Americans last year alone.
A lottery scam is when someone calls, texts or emails saying you won a huge sum of money–all you have to do is pay a fee to get it.
The Dallas Better Business Bureau held a news conference to announce the findings of a national report examining complaints to the BBB’s scam tracker.
According to the report, 2,820 people reported lottery scams in 2017.
“The biggest take away for anyone, you never have to pay to win anything,” said Phylissia Clark with the Dallas BBB.
Officials say if a victim falls for it, the scammers will keep coming back for more.
“They will work on your emotions, they will threaten you, they will do anything to part you with money,” said Jim Elliot with the Federal Trade Commission.
Elliot said the agency recieved 8,000 complaints about lottery scams in North Texas last year.
More than half of the victims are seniors.
Amanda McMurrey, a United States Postal Inspector, has met victims who lost everything.
McMurrey said one victim even took out a second mortage on their house to pay the scammers.
“It is heartbreaking, to know that someone isn’t going to have a house to live in. They won’t have a home, they can’t pay for their medications,” said McMurrey.
If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a lottery scam, report the crime here:
- Better Business Bureau. Click here to find your local BBB.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or call 877-FTC-Help.
- The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service: 1-877-876-2455; https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov
- Senate Subcommittee on Aging Fraud hotline: 1-855-303-9470
Western Union: 1-800-448-1492; https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/file-complaint.html
- MoneyGram: 1-800-926-9400; http://global.moneygram.com/nl/en/how-to-report-a-problem
- Facebook: You can report hacked or copied profiles.
- Green Dot: 1-866-795-7597; https://www.greendot.com/greendot/account/contact-us
- Canadian Anti Fraud Centre: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm Toll free from the US at 1-888-495-8501
- Victims who are seniors or other vulnerable adults may be able to obtain help through Adult Protective Services http://www.elderjustice.gov.