SEAL BEACH (CBSLA) – A Seal Beach man was swindled out of $140,000 in a lottery scam that was perpetrated over a period of several months, authorities said.
Seal Beach police reported Tuesday that they were contacted last week by an elderly man who told them he had sent a total of $140,000 to scammers over a several-month period going back to August of last year.
The man told officers that, last August, he received a letter postmarked from Portugal informing him that he had won a lottery in Spain.
The letter – which contained markings similar in type to those of the California Lottery’s logo — stated that in order to receive his alleged winnings, he would have to send tax money upfront.
The man sent cashier’s checks totaling $140,000 over a period of several months to addresses in both the U.S. and Portugal, police said.
He contacted Seal Beach police on April 23 after realizing he had been scammed.
Seal Beach police and the FBI are investigating.
“It is terribly sad that people will target the elderly in order to defraud them out of their savings,” Seal Beach Police Chief Philip Gonshak said in a statement. “What makes matters worse is that because these suspects are located internationally, it will be extremely difficult for law enforcement to identify the persons responsible. The best way to stop these types of scams is to build awareness and prevent them before they occur. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. With that, please be mindful and check in with your seniors frequently to ensure they are not falling victim to financial crimes.”