Police issue warning after victims lost thousands in separate schemes
Lethbridge police received two reports of fraudulent phone calls that resulted in victims losing money this week. (File)
LETHBRIDGE -- One victim was drawn in by criminals who told her she'd won a big prize while another was told her personal information had been stolen.
Those are just two of the recent reports the Lethbridge Police Service says it has been called to investigate this week.
On June 23, police were contacted by a 69-year-old woman who answered a phone call from a man who told her she had won a vehicle and a large cash prize in the STARS lottery.
Seeing as though the woman had bought a ticket in the event, which raises money for STARS Air Ambulance, she fell for the scheme and asked what needed to be done to collect her prize.
The caller told the woman she needed to send $1,800 via wire transfer to an address in B.C. to pay for the delivery cost of the vehicle. The woman was then contacted again, by another fraudster pretending to be a lawyer for the organization who gave her further instructions about the money.
The victim, after sending the first payment, was called a third time by someone who told her she needed to provide $15,000 to cover the insurance for delivery of the cash and vehicle. The woman did not provide any further payment and contacted police.
In the second incident, on June 22, a 30-year-old woman called LPS after she had been contacted by a man who told her that her social insurance number had been compromised and a number of fake accounts were opened in her name.
The caller instructed her to withdraw $5,000 from her bank accounts and deposit it into a bitcoin machine, which the woman did. The man told her that she would get a receipt by text and the police would get in contact with her.
Later that day, the woman was contacted again by the fraudsters, who told her she had been scammed and would not be getting her money back.
The LPS would like to remind residents to always be cautious about phone calls they receive from people who claim they've won a prize, has had personal information compromised, has warrants for their arrest or owes money for any other purpose.
"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," police write in a release.
Fraudulent phone calls and other schemes can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.