DENVER (CBS4)– Last year 30,000 Americans were scammed out of huge amounts of money from people working overseas, promising a big reward for just a little cash up front.

Rita Bentley lives in Denver. She is an artist and fills her home and galleries with oil paintings of her own creation.

Bentley fell victim to a sophisticated scam promising a lot of cash in exchange for a few grand up front.

“You are the winner of $2 million,” Bentley said the letter read. “It looked legitimate and they sent me a check.”

Bentley wanted to surprise her family with gifts so she didn’t tell them her good news. All she had to do to get her jackpot was send $3,000 to an address in a foreign country.

Tony Gomez with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said they intercept many packages. One recently intercepted contained $9,000 in cash sent overseas by a senior citizen.

One lottery scam ring is run out of Jamaica but several other countries are involved.

Bentley said she regrets sending the money.

“I felt kind of stupid,” said Bentley.

She didn’t get her money back but did give the crooks a piece of her mind, “I called the number and said, ‘I hope you are proud of yourself as far as this fraud.'”

The governments of some countries like Jamaica are working on a system to more easily prosecute the scammers.


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