Seniors,beware of foreign lottery scams

SUN Columnist

Foreign lottery scams.

This topic strikes a nerve, I tell ya.

I’ve seen this happen far too many times right here — yes, right here. Even people that come to our senior center haven fallen prey, no matter what I tell them.

Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is. Don’t do it.

Scammers don’t care about you, they care about your money. Playing foreign lotteries is illegal and most are frauds, how much more do you plan on throwing away?

The following is from the ElderWatch program with Colorado Attorney General and the AARP Foundation.

Foreign lottery scams come from dozens of countries, but many of them originate in Jamaica and are aimed at older, home-bound victims.

Once the scammers have identified you as a target, they may employ high-pressure tactics to take advantage of you, including promising you a life of luxury, informing you that the winnings must be claimed immediately, harassing you with “urgent” or threatening phone calls and urging you not to tell anyone else about the winnings. Here’s how the scams work:

• Initial solicitations invite you to send in money to enter another country’s lottery or to claim a prize.

• Typically, there is no lottery — there is just a criminal pocketing whatever money you send.

• Once you “play,” you will keep getting inundated with more offers to play.

• You may receive small “winnings” checks to convey a sense that the lottery is real and to lure you into continuing to play.

• Eventually, you may be told you won a large cash prize, but you need to pay the foreign taxes and fees up front — in cash.

The bottom line is that it is illegal to play foreign lotteries in the United States, and most such lotteries are frauds. No legitimate sweepstakes require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to collect your prize. You should never wire or send money to anyone, anywhere who says you’ve won a prize. Odds are, it’s a scam. If you receive a lottery mailer from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster.

Prevent financial elder abuse; give ElderWatch a call Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Their trained specialists are there to listen and provide assistance.

Call (800) 222-4444 or go to

Driver safety

Good news: The AARP Driver Safety Program has returned to Pagosa Springs and will be available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd.

This class is a nationwide DMV-accredited driver safety class, designed to help drivers 50 and older recognize and compensate for naturally occurring, age-related changes that can affect driving.

The State of Colorado has approved a significant auto insurance discount for students age 55 and older attending this class.  Check with your insurance agent for the exact discount; savings vary by insurance carrier, vehicle and coverage selected.

The class certificate is good for three years.

Cost for AARP Members is $12, non-members pay $14. The one-day course is being offered Thursday, March 21, from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Call Lois O’Dell to register, 259-5589.

Income tax 

Income tax assistance is available through AARP Durango for people with income up to $50,000.

Call Durango Senior Center at 382-6428 for an appointment on a Monday, or the Adult Education Center in Durango at 385-4354 for an appointment on a Saturday.

Hurry up

Make it snappy … before time is up!

Do you go out to eat? If so, why not use one of United Way’s gift certificates to pay for your meal?  You can get a $20 gift certificate for use at most restaurants in Pagosa Springs. The restaurant will donate $4 to United Way and The Den is one of the lucky participants in United Way programs.

Join us at The Den for lunch and purchase a gift certificate while you’re here. And hey, the certificates don’t expire until March 31.

For more information, call Musetta at 264-2167.

Special delivery 

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness?

If so, let us do the cooking. Enjoy Cafe Fox meals, delivered to your door. Our hot meal, home-delivery program is available to those living closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals on Thursdays and weekends. Those living farther out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Weekly activities 

Friday, March 15 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin in the kitchen; 10:30 a.m. brain injury support group; 12:30 p.m. gym walk.

Monday, March 18 — 12:30 Gym walk.

Tuesday, March 19 — 11 a.m. Alzheimer’s Support Session; 12:30 Gym walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, March 20 — Noon-1 p.m. dietician available to answer questions; 12:30 p.m. Dr. Kurz presents “Alcohol and Older Adults.”

Thursday, March 21 — AARP Driver safety class 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Friday, March 22 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 10 a.m. Stitchin in the Kitchen group; 10:30 a.m. book club; 12:30 p.m. gym walk.

Cafe Fox menu

All meals include our great salad bar.

Friday, March 15 — Corned beef, parsley buttered new potatoes, cabbage/carrots, roll, shamrock sugar cookie

Monday, March 18 — Cheeseburger, whole wheat bun, lettuce, tomato, pickle, baked French fries, baked beans, peaches.

Tuesday, March 19 — Roast pork, smashed potatoes with brown gravy, California veggies, whole wheat roll, baked apple, orange wedges.

Wednesday, March 20 — Oven fried parmesan chicken, baked potato, fast Mandarin-spinach salad, corn bread, peaches.

Thursday, March 21 — Closed, administrative day.

Friday, March 22 — Crab patty with cream gravy, peas, salad, brown rice Mandarin oranges.

Reservations are required by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you would like to dine at Cafe Fox. You can make your reservation up to one week in advance by calling 264-2167, or through our website at, select departments and the Senior Center.

Suggested donation for older adults age 60 plus is $4, guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other individual donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $12.85. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

This story was posted on March 14, 2013.