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National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9 WATCH THE EVENT VIDEO


Odds Are It's A Scam

AARP and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are teaming up to combat foreign lottery fraud, one of the most pernicious scams targeting older Rhode Islanders today.

You might even recognize the hallmarks of the trickery: stacks of direct mail inviting you to play this or that offshore lottery; callers from mysterious phone numbers claiming you "won the Jamaican lottery," but demanding you pay the foreign taxes in cash.

One of just dozens of foreign lottery frauds, the Jamaican scam alone could be bilking older Americans out of as much as $1 billion a year, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. But the FTC estimates that more than 90 percent of lottery scams go unreported because the victims are too ashamed to file a complaint.

During this year's National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, AARP Rhode Island and the USPS will be targeting the same seniors with education and outreach efforts that include a presentation at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 7, at the Johnston Senior Center in Johnston. Don't miss this chance hear from the good guys about what the bad guys are up to lately.

Nationwide, the post office will also deliver direct-mail pieces explaining how the lottery scams -- a form of mail fraud -- work. The odds are good that the most vulnerable seniors will notice the effort -- after all, the educational postcards were to designed to look like the fraudulent lottery mailers.

“The bottom line is this: Never wire or send money to anyone, anywhere who says you've won a prize,” said AARP State Director Kathleen Connell. “Odds are, it's a scam.”

For more information about foreign lottery scams, go to For more information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from fraud, visit

You can also call AARP Foundation's Fraud Fighter Call Center at 1-800-646-2283.

Help spread the word about Thursday's event: Download an event flyer.



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