Companies that promote sweepstakes scams go by different names. But they do have one thing in common: Their victims are primarily senior citizens, especially our parents and grandparents who do not know how to access the Internet. If these senior citizens could get online and Google “Award Processing Center,” “Contest America Publishers,” or “Prize Research Intelligence Agency,” they would see the references to “shameful rip-offs,” “scams” and “frauds.”
I know of at least one Tucson family whose elderly grandfather sent in almost 100 checks in amounts from $5 to $49 in attempts to win supposed sweepstakes. His savings were wiped out.
While some may think they shouldn’t become involved in their parents’ personal matters, please remember that the clever language in these bogus offers also allows scam artists to debit family members’ bank accounts electronically!
I have been in touch with the U.S. Postal Service but my conversation has brought no results. I cannot fault seniors who are trusting, and only want to claim one million dollars to help their children and grandchildren. I suppose that G-d would have me forgive the criminals who are taking advantage of our seniors. But the wound is too fresh … maybe in time.
—Greg Shannon Levitt