TORONTO — Provincial police say an elderly couple in Elliot Lake, Ont. are “very distraught” after falling victim to a fake lottery scam that led them to believe they had won $1.5 million, but ended up costing them more than $20,000.
OPP said the couple is in their early retirement years and reported on March 1 they had been defrauded of $21,000 after being contacted by a man who had stated they had won the massive lottery.
A confirmation number and telephone number was then given to the couple and they called and confirmed their alleged fortune.
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The couple had recently entered a Reader’s Digest contest and police said that had “confused them” and they had mistaken that contest for the fraudulent lottery they had purportedly won.
The pair were then allegedly asked to forward a large amount of money to the fake lottery representative on numerous occasions, which ended up totalling $21,000.
After receiving the money, investigators said he asked for more money to be forwarded, which is when the victims contacted police.
“We’re really hopeful, we always are hopeful in these kinds of investigations. I mean this is hard-earned money that these people have worked all of their lives to save up for their retirement,” said Const. Christine Ouimet.
Ouimet said the investigation is ongoing and is hoping to warn Ontarians not to fall victim to similar scams.
“The big message we’ve got to tell you, if you win money, nobody asks you for money to pay to get your money. That’s your first clue that it is not legit,” she said.
Ouimet added that the couple was “very distraught” after learning the lottery was a hoax and are hoping police can recover their retirement savings.
The OPP is also reminding citizens that legitimate lotteries don’t notify winners by email, use free email accounts such as Yahoo or Hotmail to communicate with you, tell you to call a cellphone number, tell you to keep your winnings secret, or ask for fees to be paid up front.
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