By Jensen, Randy on June 26, 2020.
Lethbridge Police are investigating after two citizens were defrauded significant sums of cash.
On Tuesday a 69-year-old woman reported she had been contacted by a male who indicated she had won a vehicle and large cash prize in the STARS Lottery. As the victim had previously purchased STARS tickets she initially believed the call to be legitimate.
The scammer indicated she needed to send just over $1,800 via wire transfer to an address in B.C. to pay for the delivery cost of the vehicle. A further call was received from a second scammer who claimed to be a lawyer for the organization. The money was subsequently sent and, upon completion of the transaction, a third call was received indicating an additional $15,000 was required to cover the insurance for delivery of the cash and vehicle. No further cash was provided.
Police said in a release fraudsters will often use the good name of legitimate organizations to make their scam seem credible. STARS Lottery does not ask winners to front money to claim a prize. Winners are contacted by mail and can check for their names online or by calling the organization directly.
On Monday a 30-year-old woman reported she had been contacted by a male who claimed her Social Insurance Number had been compromised and fraudulent accounts opened in her name. The caller advised her to withdraw money from her accounts and deposit it into a bitcoin machine. The victim subsequently withdrew and deposited $5,000 into a bitcoin machine at a local service station. The male advised she would receive a receipt by text and that he or police would be in touch with her when the fraudulent accounts had been secured. Later in the day the victim received a text indicating she had been scammed, would not receive her money back and advised she should call the police.
Police remind residents to always be wary of phone calls from anyone claiming an individual is under investigation, has had their personal information compromised, has warrants for their arrest or owes money for some other purpose – especially those demanding payment in the form of bitcoin transfer, gift cards, pre-paid credit cards and wire transfers.
These tactics are not used by police or for tax collection purposes. Do not provide any personal information or funds and do not return calls to any number the caller provides. To confirm the legitimacy of a call, always contact the agency the caller claims to represent directly.