If you’re called over the phone saying you’ve won the lottery, but you have to pay some ‘administrative fees’ before you can claim your winnings, hang up.
In early 2021, a Nanaimo couple in their late 80’s got caught in a Readers Digest Sweepstakes Mega Millions lotto scam.
A caller said he was working for Readers Digest and that he was calling to notify them that they had won $18.5 million, and a Mercedes-Benz. To claim their prize, they would have to pay. A few days later, documents in the mail from what appeared to be the Internal Revenue Service.
The documents indicated they owed taxes on their winnings, and that they were directed to contact Mega Millions in order to arrange payment. They were charged for ‘storage’ of the car and ‘outstanding fees’ on the winnings. Throughout the year, the couple made cash payments of almost $400,000 until it was reported to the RCMP.
“The financial loss the couple experienced is significant and is certainly one of the largest we have seen in Nanaimo,” said Constable Gary O’Brien. “It also goes to show that if fraudsters believe they have convinced you of their legitimacy, they will not stop until essentially there is no more money to give or you figure out it is a scam.”
More information on the types of scams, you’re encouraged to visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud center.