Tessa from Tillsonburg was told she had won a $1 million lottery.
And a Cadillac.
All she had to do was call a Dr. Walker in Las Vegas. Except it wasn't a Las Vegas number – it was Jamaican.
"The guy who phoned me, John Patterson, was from Jamaica too. The number I had to phone was an 876 number... which is Jamaica.
"Those calls to Jamaica cost an arm and a leg," said Tessa, who went to the Tillsonburg variety store where she occasionally buys lottery tickets and confirmed what she had thought... it was a scam. "If they put you on hold, you'd come away with at least a $100 phone bill. I thought, this needs to get out to the public, because people might phone that number to verify whether they've won or not."
The man at DNT Variety told her, No. 1, Lotto 6/49 – a Canadian lottery – does not call you at home.
"He started to smile when I told him the story. He said 'SCAM.' He said 6/49 never, ever contacts you at home. He said, 'as soon as you come in here with a winning ticket, I put in my machine. And you hear it dinging, right? That is connected back to the head 6/49 office. As soon as I put that ticket in, they know what store has that winning number and they immediately call you. So you talk to them in the store – they never, ever phone you at home.'"
People need to know that, she said.
"If you phone that 876 number, you're going to be out a heck of a pile of money."
There were a number of Lotto 6/49 $1 million prizes given away recently, she said, but the Cadillac was another big red flag.
"I thought... 6/49 doesn't give away cars, just money. That was another flag that went up. He asked me specifically afterwards, do you have room in your driveway for a Cadillac? I said, 'oh yeah, I'd make room if it was true.'
"I'd like the people here to be warned. I'd hate to think some of my friends got suckered into this. I wish these people could be caught."
"If you get those kind of calls, hang up," said Oxford OPP's Lisa Narancsik. "Don't be afraid to hang up. Hang up! If it feels too good to be true...
"Always verify, that's what I always say," said Narancsik. "Always, always verify. It's better to ask questions than lose money."
Here are some quick ways to avoid being victimized.
- Be suspicious and always verify who you are speaking with.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be careful of suspects working overseas, as this provides numerous reasons for them to ask for money.
- If you are asked to send money to receive money, don’t do it. It will likely result in financial loss.
If you have any questions or concern about this scam or any other types of scams contact your local police agency immediately. You can call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
For more information on fraud, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online http://www.antifraudcentre.ca.