It all started with a surprising and exciting call from Jamaica. An elderly woman from Taghum received a phone call late in August advising her that she had won the “Winners Circle International” for 5.5 million dollars.
Thinking back, the woman recalled entering a contest through a magazine subscription and thought this must have been the one she had won.
Soon enough, the congratulatory call turned shady.
The “contest” caller advised the Taghum native that $25,000 was required to obtain a “tax exemption” in order to process the winnings for delivery to Canada.
Under the guise of trying to be helpful, the caller persistently requested these funds be sent through various means, Western Union, Bank to Bank Transfers and mailing cash to individuals and banks in Jamaica. The Taghum “winner” was told not to discuss the winnings (and tax exemption) with anyone, even family members, until they received the jackpot.
After receiving the initial $25, 000, the brazen scam artist called back a number of times over the following months and convinced the woman to send additional funds. In the end, the women is this particular case (who doesn’t wish to be identified) was defrauded over $78,000.
The RCMP warn people not to send money in order to secure so-called lottery winnings. Any phone solicitation of this nature where a lottery win is required to provide funding to “obtain their winnings” is a scam. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is a fraud.
Scam artists are often based or located in other countries making police investigation and prosecution challenging. These criminals are very convincing and are willing to go as far as setting up fake web sites and providing victims with a pass codes in an effort to convince or ‘affirm’ that they are legitimate.
To protect yourself, the RCMP advise you never give out personal or banking information over the phone or computer.
The police note that targets for these phone frauds tend to be retired elderly or older individuals that are alone. The phoney phone scammers endeavour to appeal to their emotions and religious beliefs. Those of us with elderly family members or friends are encouraged to caution their relatives and acquaintances to prevent them from being victimized.