Contact 6: Woman scammed after "winning" a car

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6's Contact 6 says one woman lost thousands after she received a letter saying she was a winner -- and all she had to do was pay the tax.

"They want me to enter a contest for $30,000 which I won`t win, that`s for sure," Reta Gail George said.

George was referring to letters she receives in the mail.

"They look very authentic," George said.

George's saga began in 2011 when she was told she had won a Mercedes-Benz that was on its way to her home.

"We`re at the state line Miss George. We need $35,000. Well I don`t have no $35,000," George said.

The con artists were relentless.

"I said 'you didn`t tell me I had to pay any money for it.' 'Well yes, you have to pay income tax on it,'" George recalls.

George eventually called police about the calls, who told her this:

"They said 'Ms. George it`s a scam. It`s repetitious, that`s all it is. You`re just giving your money away for nothing.' Finally I caught on and said 'this is it. This is too much,'" George said.

Postal inspectors were alerted to George's case, and were able to intercept one of her payments to those con men.

"We were able to recover $13,000 in money orders -- wonderful," George said.

"Make sure you talk to your loved ones and let them know they should NEVER pay a fee for something they have won," U.S. Postal Inspector Blanca Alverez said.

George has strong words for those who prey on the vulnerable.

"They have no conscience. They push ya and try to get more money out of you and if you don`t say no they will take your home. They will take your money and leave you in the street and that`s where a lot of people are now. It's terrible," George said.

FOX6's Contact 6 says if you have to pay a tax or a processing fee for your winnings, tell them to go ahead and take that money from what you have won, and then send the rest. It makes perfect sense, but it won't happen because those trying to con you just want your money.

FOX6's Contact 6 says no legitimate lottery will ever ask for money up front.