Friday, June 28 2013, 01:06 PM MDT
Enter To Win Scam Sweepstakes
(KUTV) Everyone loves a contest or a sweepstakes chance, but how do you know when one of those is a scam?
The Publishers' Clearing House announces its winner February 28th.
Betty Klassen was devastated to learn that she and her husband were scammed out of thousands of dollars. "I believed them that it was a real thing and it was going to make our lives different."
"He said I won 3-million dollars and if I sent 5-thousand I could collect the money, so I sent him the money,” Betty said.
The former teacher sent money orders and cash cards to the address she was given, and then they asked for more money.
Betty admits she really thought she had won a prize, until her children forced her to face the truth.
"I told them I thought I was going to make a lot of money, and they said Mom, that is a scam,” Betty said.
Betty's children immediately contacted postal inspectors who started tracking the case.
"This is her retirement savings, this is what she worked her whole life for and she is sending that money in a lottery scam in hopes of getting a lump sum in return,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Roberto.
Inspectors say Betty is not alone. "It's someone's grandmother, it's someone's mother, it's someone's friend,” Roberto explained.
In Betty’s case, the con men not only took her money they also stole her trust.
"What broke my heart is she didn't want to answer the phone because she didn't want to be scammed again,” Roberto said.
Betty says she wished she could have talked with her kids about what she was doing earlier in the process. She thinks that would have saved her a lot of money.
Just a reminder -- no real lottery or contest will ever ask for money up front.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)