Canadian telemarketers spent two years bilking Walter Blevins of Arkansas City, Kan., out of $300,000 – his life savings. The scammers initially told the 78-year-old former aircraft worker he'd won $2.2 million in a lottery. He just needed to wire cash to cover the taxes and other fees on his windfall. By the time his shocked daughter intervened, his money was gone and no one could help, reports the Kansas City Star. Not the police, the Kansas attorney general, the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission – not even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Investigators say thousands of other senior citizens have been targeted by brazen telemarketing scams originating outside the United States, increasingly from Canada. The many lottery, sweepstakes, shop-at-home, counterfeit-check and advance-fee scams have grown so pervasive that authorities now categorize them under the umbrella of “cross-border fraud.” They blame the sharp rise on jurisdictional differences, lenient foreign laws and savvier scammers. Last year, the FTC received reports of 95,000 cross-border frauds, leading to losses of $141 million to U.S. victims.