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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Woman loses life savings in scam
An elderly woman who thought she had won more than a million pounds has lost most of her life savings after paying out 27,000 to conmen, police say.

The widow in her 70s from Shrewsbury was informed that she had won the Canadian and Australian sweepstakes.

But she was told she would have to cover costs and legal fees before getting the winnings. The woman then paid out the cash in instalments.

Interpol is now investigating to try to track down the recipients.

The victim knows how naive she has been and is devastated over what's happened
Pc Mike Dulson, West Mercia Police

The woman has gone public to stop others being victims of similar scams.

She was telephoned in March last year and promised 120,000 on the Canadian sweepstake.

In July last year she was told she had won 1.5m from the Australian sweepstake on condition she forwarded cash for costs.

She made about 17 payments, ranging from 145 to 3,000, at local travel agents or through the Post Office which were then forwarded.

Pc Mike Dulson, of West Mercia Police, said: "The woman took out a bank loan to make the payments.

"Having repaid that and other bills, she is now forced to get by on a few pounds weekly.

"She paid 27,600 in total through a legitimate money transfer company called Western Union.

"The money was sent to various people in Vancouver and Rome, supposedly for legal and other fees but the lady never received a penny.

"The victim knows how naive she has been and is devastated over what's happened."

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