84-year-old woman loses life savings in a lottery scam

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- No one wants to see their life savings go down the drain, but some people are out to take advantage and you could be next. 84-year-old Doris Galinas, a widow and retired nurse, spent her entire life helping others, but ended up becoming the one in need.

"When you realize it's happening to you, it's very different," said Galinas. "They called and said I won a big prize from the Mega Millions and there were two cars - a new Mercedes."

Excitement turned to frustration when Galinas learned about the catch -- she had to pay taxes. Galinas said it because never ending.

"They actually convinced her to go and refinance her house and come up with a large source of money, so she refinanced her home at their advice and took out $151,000," said U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Gendron.

Galinas' frequent trips to the post office to send payments caught the attention of workers, so they asked the woman, point blank, if she was caught up in a scam.

"We were concerned for her coming in so often mailing via Express," said postal clerk Daniel Stewart. "I believe every clerk who dealt with her tried to explain we didn't feel it was right or something wasn't right about it, but she said she was okay."

Galinas assured the workers she wasn't being scammed, however, the clerks decided to notify Postal Inspectors.

"They have absolutely no mercy when it comes to exploiting our senior citizens. So the best thing we can possibly do is talk about it so that everybody knows how the schemes operate," said Gendron.

Galina lost a staggering $100,000 to foreign lottery thieves.

No legitimate lottery will ask for money up front if you've won. If you receive a call or letter saying you've won a lottery and asking you to pay taxes, contact your local postal inspector via this site.