Kings District RCMP says scammers have conned two victims out of more than $10,000 each over the last few weeks in Kings County.
Media relations officer Const. Jeff Wilson says police are advising Kings County and area residents to remain vigilant as scams aiming to take advantage of seniors and vulnerable people continue to occur.
The RCMP release states that contact began in both recent incidents with an email advising the victim had won a lottery prize of $2.8 million and a new car but must pay taxes in advance of the prizes arriving.
RCMP say scammers can request payment via bank information, credit cards, gift cards, cheques and money orders. On both recent occasions, victims paid the scammers after an initial request for money and continued sending money when more requests followed.
Another local incident reported a scammer telling victims they must buy iTunes gift cards in order to collect their prize, and to call the scammer back and provide the code on the card’s reverse.
RCMP offer the following tips to protect yourself from such scams:
- Known lottery and sweepstakes companies such as Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearinghouse and Mega Millions will never request money up front in order to receive a prize.
- Any unsolicited phone call advising that you have won a lottery is fake. The only way to participate in any foreign lottery is to go to the country of origin and purchase a ticket in person. A ticket cannot be purchased on your behalf.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, no matter who the caller claims to represent.
- If you have caller-ID on your phone, check the area code when someone calls to tell you you’ve won. If it is from a foreign country, that is a red flag. Also, be aware that some scammers use technology that allows them to disguise their area code: although it may look like they’re calling from your province, they could be anywhere in the world.
- suspicious if an e-mail contains misspellings or poor grammar, or if the person who called you uses poor English.
- If you are told that you need to keep your “win” confidential, be suspicious.
- No real lottery tells winners to put up their own money in order to collect a prize they have already won. If you have to pay a fee to collect your winnings, you haven’t won.
- Just because a real lottery is mentioned does not necessarily make it a real prize. Someone may be using the lottery’s name without its permission or knowledge.
- If they offer to wire the “winnings” directly into your bank account, DO NOT them your bank account information.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, report it to your local RCMP office and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.