Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
Not all lotteries and sweepstakes are legitimate. Before you participate, keep these tips in mind:

  • Scam artists often use the promise of a valuable prize or award to entice consumers to send money, buy overpriced products or services, or contribute to bogus charities.
  • Legitimate sweepstakes don't require you to pay to collect your winnings.
  • Scam operators use the telephone and direct mail to entice U.S. consumers to buy chances in foreign lotteries. These lottery solicitations violate U.S. law, which prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail.

Telephone Scams
Every year, thousands of people lose their money and personal information to telephone scams. Typically, phone scammers will try to sell you something you hadn't planned to buy and will pressure you to give up personal information, like your credit card details or Social Security number.

Common Phone Scams
In telemarketing fraud, phone scammers will often use exaggerated—or even fake—prizes, products, and services as bait. Some may call you, but others will use mail, text, or ads to get you to call them for more details. Types of phone scams include:

  • Travel packages - "Free" or "low-cost" vacations can end up costing a fortune in hidden costs.
  • Credit and loans - Popular schemes include advance fee loans, pay day loans, and credit card loss protection.
  • Fake business and investment opportunities - As business and investing can be complicated, scammers take advantage of people not researching the investment.
  • Charitable causes - Many phone scams involve urgent requests for recent disaster relief efforts.

Information obtained from USA.GOV

Here are some specific scams that target the elderly:
The Grandparent Scam
Scammers will place a call to an older person and when the victim picks up, they will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having done a lick of background research. Once “in,” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (overdue rent, payment for car repairs, etc.), to be paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, which don’t always require identification to collect. At the same time, the scam artist will beg the grandparent, “Please don’t tell my parents, they would kill me.”

Funeral & Cemetery Scams
Scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral service of a complete stranger to take advantage of the grieving widow or widower. Claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them, scammers will try to extort money from relatives to settle the fake debts. Another tactic of disreputable funeral homes is to capitalize on family members’ unfamiliarity with the considerable cost of funeral services to add unnecessary charges to the bill. In one common scam of this type, funeral directors will insist that a casket, usually one of the most expensive parts of funeral services, is necessary even when performing a direct cremation, which can be accomplished with a cardboard casket rather than an expensive display or burial casket.

Medicare/Health Insurance Scams
Every U.S. citizen or permanent resident over age 65 qualifies for Medicare, so there is rarely any need for a scam artist to research what private health insurance company older people have in order to scam them out of some money. In these types of scams, perpetrators may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them their personal information, or they will provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then use the personal information they provide to bill Medicare and pocket the money.

The Fake Accident Ploy
The con artist gets the victim to wire or send money on the pretext that the person’s child or another relative is in the hospital and needs the money.

Email/Phishing Scams
A senior receives email messages that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution, asking them to “update” or “verify” their personal information. A senior receives emails that appear to be from the IRS about a tax refund.

Friend or Relative in Custody
The resident will receive a call from a person, who told them that their relative or friend was in jail and that they needed to send bail money in order to get them out.


  • Contact Info
  • 2530 Maria Louise Lane Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

  • Telephone 573.339.6621
  • Email police@cityofcape.org