A Saanich resident is out $26,000 after a scammer convinced them they’d won a sweepstake.
Police say the resident received a call in January informing them they’d won a $75,000 Publishers Clearing House prize. The caller explained that in order to access the money, the resident would need to cover the taxes and legal fees – totalling $26,000.
A few weeks later, a suspect came to the victim’s home to pick up the money, claiming the prize money would be sent later. When the victim didn’t receive any prize money, they became suspicious and called the Saanich Police Department.
Police want the public to know sweepstakes scams aren’t new. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, these scams cost Canadians more than $3.7 million in 2019 alone.
The Saanich Police Department is warning residents that if they’re asked to send money to receive a prize, it’s a scam, said Const. Markus Anastasiades in a statement. Police are also warning against depositing a cheque and then sending money back – even if the funds appear to be in the victim’s account – and never provide banking information over the phone.
Anastasiades emphasized the importance of spreading the word about scams to educate friends and family and prevent further fraud.
Police ask that all scams and frauds be reported to the authorities and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.