A phone call or email arrives with the news you have won the lottery, a trip, a contest, or some other prize – wow! The problem is, if you never bought a ticket or entered a draw for this windfall, it is likely a scam. The fraud is confirmed as soon as they ask you to send money to cover delivery, fees, taxes, or any other expense. Everyone should take the time to learn how to spot these and other scams, and protect themselves from financial loss.

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and to raise awareness the Competition Bureau has published “The Little Black Book of Scams”. The first edition, published in 2012, included the following:

Lotteries, Sweepstakes and Contests

Many Canadians are lured by the excitement of a surprise win and find themselves sending huge amounts of money to claim fake prizes.

What to look for You cannot win money or a prize in a lottery unless you have entered it yourself, or someone else has entered it on your behalf. You cannot be chosen as a random winner if you don’t have an entry.

Many lottery scams try to trick you into providing your banking and personal details to claim your prize. You should not have to pay any fee or tax to claim a legitimate prize.

Don’t be fooled by claims that the offer is legal or has government approval—many scammers will tell you this. Instead of receiving a grand prize or fortune, you will lose every cent that you send to a scammer. And if you have provided other personal details, your identity could be misused too.

A fake prize scam will tell you that you have won a prize or a contest. You may receive a phone call, an email, a text message or see a pop-up screen on your computer. There are often costs involved with claiming your prize, and even if you do receive a prize, it may not be what was promised to you.

The scammers make their money by making you pay fees or taxes, call their premium rate phone numbers or send premium text messages to claim your prize. These premium rate calls can be very expensive, and the scammers will try to keep you on the line for a long time or ask you to call a different premium rate number.

Source: Competition Bureau Canada

To learn more on these types of fraud, read Investment Fraud and Schemes at DNotesEDU.

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