New campaign fights back against lottery and sweepstakes scams

SEATTLE -- Every year, lottery and sweepstakes mailings entice millions of people to pay up front for the prize they've reportedly one. But it's all a scam. The prize does not exist -- consumers get ripped off when the scammers take their money. Once it's gone, you can rarely get your money back.

Now, U.S. Postal Inspectors and AARP are firing back by mailing thousands of big purple cards to expose the truth: If you have to send money, odds are it's a scam.

The nationwide campaign even has public service videos posted on YouTube to spread the word.

Scammers feed on your hope for vacations, cars, and cash. The big red flag is they want you to pay fees and/or taxes up front. And they especially preying on seniors.

"These fraud operators will call them and befriend them and tell them what they want to hear and make them feel like the made a new friend," explained U.S. Postal Inspector Pamela Durkee.

The campaign message is to stop and think: How can you win something when you never entered? Consumers are urged to share links to the YouTube videos so seniors and other primary targets of the scam will see them. And if you get the purple card warning about lottery and prize scams, be sure to share it with friends and family and especially vulnerable neighbors.

Federal investigators say victims of lottery and other prize scams are losing an estimated $120 million every year. Many are losing their homes, vehicles, life savings and overall security because they believe what the scammers are saying, and are too ashamed to tell their family or friends they got taken.

Foreign Dignitary Scam Video:

Foreign Lottery Scam Video:

Fraud Fighter Call Center Video: