Lottery and prize scams claim victims and their money

95 per cent of fraud is never reported

ORILLIA, ON, March 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Lottery scams and other prize fraud schemes now rank second highest in terms of the number of mass marketing fraud complaints, and fourth in terms of dollar losses reported by victims, according to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Many Canadians find themselves becoming scam victims, thanks to the excitement of a surprise win or to claim prizes from fake lotteries, sweepstakes or contests. In 2014, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received 4,400 Canadian complaints of prize or lottery fraud. Of those, 652 people were victimized to the tune of more than $4.3-million. Police believe 95 per cent of victims never report the crime.

Phone calls, an e-mail, text messages and pop-up messages on your computer or laptop may make claims that the offer is legal and that there are relatively minor costs to claim the 'big' prize. By responding, you may lose everything you send to a scammer and – if you have provided other personal details – your identity information could be stolen to support other crimes.

Members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch encourage everyone to leverage their social media interactions by using #dontbeavictim #fraudprevention and #OPPtips to help others identify and report fraud.

If you have been approached to pay a fee to claim a lottery or other type of prize, contact your local police service or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/.

FRAUD…Recognize itReport itStop it.

Tips to help you recognize a lottery or prize scam.

  • Never send money to anybody you don't know and trust.
  • Don't provide personal banking details to anyone that you do not know and trust.
  • 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 expensive.
  • Ask yourself,"Did I willingly enter this contest?"

QUOTES

"Many lottery and prize claim scams want to trick you into providing your banking and personal information to claim your prize. In fact, criminals will fraudulently use your personal information to steal your money."
Deputy Commissioner Scott TOD, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime Command.

"Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee or tax to collect winnings. 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." 
– Detective Inspector Mike BICKERTON, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.

LEARN MORE

OPPMarch is Fraud Prevention Month

MEDIA NOTE: This is the second of four weekly OPP media releases on various criminal activities as part of Fraud Prevention Month 2015.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: Detective Constable Ted Schendera, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, Phone: 705-329-6437

RELATED LINKS
http://www.opp.ca

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