Strathcona County, Alta. – Strathcona County RCMP are warning residents of prize scams where residents are receiving phone calls or emails advising they are the winner of a large lottery or sweepstakes. Often with these prize scams the winner is instructed to pay an upfront fee to cover taxes or legal fees before receiving any winnings.
Recently a local resident became a victim to this prize scam. On March 15, 2019 the victim received a call from a male claiming to be a representative of Publisher’s Clearing House. The male advised that the victim won a significant amount of money but would have to pay taxes on the winnings. The male deposited $9500 of the winnings into the victim’s bank account and instructed the victim to transfer that money to cover the taxes. The victim did so before the deposited money was cleared and therefore sent $9500 of their own money. The investigation into this scam continues.
Be aware of phone calls and emails claiming you have won a lottery or sweepstakes especially if you don’t remember entering one. If you are asked to send a payment of any kind to claim a prize, it is a scam.
Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of a prize scam;
- Never send money to collect a prize, sweepstakes check, or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
- Never deposit a check and send back money, even if the funds appear in your account. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, no matter who the caller claims to represent.
For more information on scams contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you believe you may be the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly, contact the Strathcona County RCMP Detachment at 780-467-7741