Nanaimo woman loses nearly $27,000 to lottery phone scam

Nanaimo woman loses nearly $27,000 to lottery phone scam
Police say if you think the caller could be a scammer, immediately hang up the phone

Nanaimo RCMP is warning the public of a lottery phone scam after a woman was conned out of nearly $27,000, believing that she had to pay the taxes of a $750-million win.

The scammers tricked the anonymous woman into believing that she had won the grand prize in a lottery of $750 million and a Mercedes Benz vehicle.

In March of 2021, the senior received numerous phone calls from a man said who said his name was Dave Morin. He told her that she had won the grand prize and that all she had to do to claim her winnings was pay some upfront taxes, according to Nanaimo RCMP.

Over the course of the next three weeks, the scammers called the victim numerous times and instructed her to purchase either Vanilla pre-paid gift cards or to send cash by mail. She was told to send the cash to various addresses across British Columbia and North America.

In total, she sent almost $16,000 in cash by mail and another $10,600 in Vanilla pre-paid cards.

When her prize never arrived, she spoke with a family member, who told her that there was no lotto and that she had been the victim of a phone scam.

She has since changed her phone number and she no longer uses a landline.

Sadly, this happens more often than not – and in many cases – the victim only realizes that they have been scammed when the prize never comes,” said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

While this woman was scammed over the phone, the RCMP says lotto scams can come in various forms including email, social media and regular mail.

If you do respond, police say the scammers will make every effort to keep you interested and will respond almost immediately to you.

Sometimes they may say they represent publications like Readers Digest or Publisher’s Clearing House in order to gain trust and credibility, says police.

The Nanaimo RCMP says that if you think it could be a scam, do not respond or hang up the phone.

Police are also reminding the public that to win the lottery, you first need to purchase a ticket and that any legitimate lotto will not require you to pay any taxes.

“Don’t be pressured into providing any personal information or to send money. Call a friend or family member before making any decisions,” said the Nanaimo RCMP in a release.

To learn more about scams and frauds, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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