Scammers Hope 'You May Already Be a Victim!'
ORILLIA, ON, March 20, 2013 /CNW/ - According to the Ontario Provincial
Police (OPP), many people find themselves becoming scam victims, thanks
to the excitement of a surprise win or to claim prizes from fake lotteries, sweepstakes or contests.
You may receive a phone call, an e-mail, a text message, or see a pop-up
screen on your computer. Sometimes, there are claims that the offer is
legal or 'has government approval'. Often there are costs involved with
claiming your prize. Instead of receiving a grand prize or fortune, you
could lose every cent that you send to a scammer. Even if you do
receive a prize, it may not be what was promised to you. And, if you
have provided other personal details, your identity information could
be misused for other criminal means.
Prize fraud now ranks second highest in Canada in terms of the number of
mass marketing fraud complaints, and fourth in terms of dollar losses
reported by victims. In 2012, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 5,478 Canadian complaints of prize or lottery fraud. Of those, 833 people were victimized to the tune of more than $5.1-million. Police believe only five (5) per cent of victims actually report the crime.
Canadians are also dishing out these schemes abroad. Based on total
number of complaints, the "prize" type of scheme is the top
Canadian-based mass marketing fraud reported by consumers in the United
Members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch remind consumers you can protect
yourself from becoming a victim of the lottery or prize scam.
Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee or tax to collect
Never send money to anybody you don't know and trust.
Don't provide personal banking details to anyone that you do not know
Examine all of the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully.
Claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs. Calls to
premium rate phone numbers or premium text messages can be very
Ask yourself, "Did I willingly enter this contest?"
If you or someone you know have been approached to pay a fee to claim a lottery or other type of prize, contact your local police service or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477
FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.
"You cannot win money or a prize in a lottery unless you have entered it
yourself, or someone else has entered it on your behalf. You cannot be
chosen as a random winner if you haven't actually entered."
- Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
"Many lottery scams try to trick you into providing your banking and
personal details to claim your prize. You should not have to pay any
fee or tax to claim a legitimate prize."
- Detective Inspector Paul Beesley, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.
OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month
Glossary of Pitch Types from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Prize: Any false, deceptive, or misleading solicitation advising victims they
have won or have a chance to win something but are required to purchase
something first or pay an advance fee, such as taxes, to receive the
MEDIA NOTE: This is the fourth of five weekly OPP media releases on various
criminal activities as part of Fraud Prevention Month.
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Detective Constable Ted Schendera
OPP Anti-Rackets Branch