Huron OPP is investigating a recent scam that was reported to police on January 16, 2013. A Clinton resident reported to police that she received a phone call on December 28, 2012 congratulating her on her second place win from the “MegaMillions” lottery. The male caller advised her that she was the lucky winner of $3.5 million dollars and a brand new Mercedes-Benz. The victim then received an email congratulating her on her “win”. The scammer called back and requested the victim send her $1200 in order to process the win. He claimed it was to cover the taxes and transfer fees.
Ultimately, the victim sent six transactions to the scammers totaling just over $6500. The victim also lost $341 in fees to cover the wire transfers. The scammers continued to try and take the victim’s money by calling her and purporting to be a Customs Official from New York. She was told that her prize vehicle was at the border and they requested $1500 to have the vehicle delivered. By this point the victim had learned that she had been scammed and did not respond.
There have been an ever growing number of scam lottery emails advising people they have hit the jackpot. Remember the following when you receive a solicitation of this kind.
- You cannot win without first buying a lottery ticket
- Lottery corporations do not tell you to keep your winnings secret
- Lottery corporations do not notify winners by email
- Never pay handling fees or service charges to collect a lottery or sweepstakes win.
- Be very skeptical of sweepstakes scams and lottery wins that instruct you to wire money. Scammers generally use services like Western Union because it is very difficult to trace who received the money.
- Never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service
Huron County OPP is asking residents to beware of unsolicited phone calls, letters, faxes or emails. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Hang up the phone, delete the emails and shred the letters or faxes. If you don’t respond, you don’t get scammed.
To learn more about common frauds and how to report a fraud you can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or 1-888-495-8501