Elderly victims have been scammed out of nearly $400,000 in what RCMP say is one of the most costly scams they have seen in Nanaimo.
Police issued a press release Thursday, March 3, notifying the public about the fake lottery scam. The fraud started early last year when the seniors, both in their late 80s, received a call from a scammer claiming to represent ‘Readers Digest Sweepstakes Mega Millions’ and congratulating them on winning $18.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz.
“Several days later they received official-looking documents in the mail … [that] indicated they owed taxes on their winnings, and that they were directed to contact Mega Millions in order to arrange payment,” the release noted.
The scammers remained in contact with the victims, directing regular payments via money orders to various addresses to pay taxes on their winnings and to cover the storage of the car they had won.
“The financial loss the couple experienced is significant and is certainly one of the largest we have seen in Nanaimo,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the release. “It also goes to shows that if fraudsters believe they have convinced you of their legitimacy, they will not stop until essentially there is no more money to give or you figure out it is a scam.”
Police recommend that people educate themselves on scams being perpetrated in Nanaimo and elsewhere. For more information, visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.