Scammers try to cash in on $40 million lotto win

CALGARY- Just days after word emerged that at Calgary man who won $40 million is donating it all to charity, it appears some are already trying to take advantage of the situation.

At least one fake page has been set up claiming to belong to Tom Crist. A Montreal woman hoping to get $600,000 funding to set up a therapeutic riding centre nearly fell victim to it.

“I sent him a friend request and an e-mail. I sent that original message that I felt what he was doing was really nice, and that we were trying to find people for funds as well,” Zileti explains.

She became suspicious, when the site administrator began responding to her.

“His English wasn’t very good, the way he was writing,” she says. “I thought it was really really weird the way he was responding, that’s why I figured maybe it’s not [Crist].”
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Her concerns were realized when he asked her for money to cover his legal fees before sending her the funding she’d requested.

“At the beginning he asks for 10 per cent, then he asks for five per cent…it wasn’t constant. He just kept going back and forth and changing things.”

Global News spoke with the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, which says winners are given a kit that includes advice about changing phone numbers, contacting a lawyer or accountant and setting up a trust. However, there is nothing specific in it about scams.

Crist’s family has been alerted about the scam. Meantime, Zileti says she’s learned her lesson.

“I think it’s too bad when somebody does something so good, and some people just go ahead right away and take advantage of it and try to scam other people.”

With files from David Boushy

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