Government
5:11 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Federal Authorities Ask For Help In Protecting Consumers From Fraud

In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, postal inspectors and U.S. Attorneys from Western Missouri and Kansas are asking the public for help fighting sweepstakes scams. According to prosecutors Tammy Dickinson and Barry Grissom, most are operating from outside the United States.

Phony lottery-sweepstakes certificates displayed by prosecutors and federal postal inspectors in Kansas City.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Many of the lottery winning schemes mail impressive looking certificates. Tom Noyes of the postal inspection service in Kansas City says most gullible victims are elderly and will often send up front money to con artists.

"Money that’s critical to pay their bills, their health providers," he says.

Noyes said operators are often in Canada and Mexico,  and an especially notorious con game was operated out of Jamaica.

It’s nothing new, but the federal prosecutors  say it’s difficult to track the money going back to the schemers.

Noyes wants caregivers and relatives to look for evidence of mailings to the elderly, promising the un-promisable.