Police warn lottery scam targeting Okotoks

Crime: RCMP receiving numerous reports of scheme

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 10:43 am

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Okotoks RCMP are urging people to be wary of a lottery scam targeting local residents with claims of big winnings.

A number of residents reported they were called by a person claiming to be a lawyer. They are told they won a lottery, but they need to pay taxes on the winnings before they can collect it.

The supposed lawyer will make arrangements are made to send the payment via a money transfer business like Western Union.

Okotoks RCMP Sgt. Donna Rorison said they have received a number of complaints about the scheme after becoming aware of it this month.

Police say the people behind these scams are professional con artists who can be very convincing.

If they can make enough calls they can eventually talk someone into believing they won it and get them to send them any amount of money, he said.

She said most people doing these scams are working in organized groups and may not be located anywhere near Okotoks. She said technology allows the people behind these types of scams to target areas far from where they may be operating.

She said its difficult to catch the people behind these types of scams because they often difficult to track.

We almost never have anything to back track on, she said.

Police are urging people to be cautious about the information they are handing out to strangers who randomly call them.

She said people who fall victim to the scam are often embarrassed to come forward, especially after they have sent money. However, she still asked them to report it to police and Fraud Busters, a national organization that tracks these types of scams and issues warnings about specific areas that are being targeted.

Anyone who is contacted by an unknown person or organization asking to send money is urged to be cautious and contact Okotoks RCMP at 403-938-4202 or Fraud Busters at 1-888-495-8501.


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