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Dexter woman scammed out of $250,000 in overseas frauds

An 85-year-old woman from Dexter has been scammed out of nearly $250,000 over the course of the last 18 to 24 months, authorities say.

According to Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi, the woman has sent money to Panama, Nigeria and Jamaica in response to letters she receives soliciting funds.

In the latest incident, the woman was told she'd won an international lottery in Panama, but needed to send $57,000 to pay taxes on the winnings. She sent the money.

"We've explained it to her, told her to stop, got a guardian for her," Amazi said of law enforcement's attempts to prevent more loss. "She promised to call our detective the next time she got a letter, and she did — but just once, then she stopped doing that."

The woman has no family and is sending the money willingly, Amazi said, adding that it's the woman's bank that's been contacting authorities when she makes large withdrawals.

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While federal authorities frequently caution against this type of scam, there's not much more than can be done legally, Amazi said.

"We've done all the forwarding we can with this case," she said, including to Mower County's department of Human Services. "We just want her to stop."

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