Victims from around the world are being scammed every day by suspects claiming to be from Lottery Corporations.
Over the years a number of victims from Regina have come forward reporting that they were victims of this scam.
One case of note began two years ago when a Regina resident was contacted, by phone, by a suspect claiming to be from a lottery corporation. The victim was informed he was the winner of a lottery worth 35 million dollars. The suspect was very convincing, ensuring that this victim was, without doubt, a newly-made millionaire, exciting him with the prospects of how his life is going to change with his new wealth. Then the suspect claimed that a small fee must be paid before the funds are released. The victim was instructed to go to a wire service and wire money, and the 35 million dollars will be sent immediately upon receiving this service fee. The victim, now very excited to receive the winnings, went to a wire service and sent the suspect the proposed sum of approximately $1500.00.
The same day, the victim was contacted again. This time the suspect asked for additional funds for taxes that must be paid up front. Again, the victim went to the wire service and sent more money.
The victim was then contacted for yet another fee that had to be paid before the 35 million dollars can be released.
By May of this year, the victim, still convinced he was the winner of 35 million dollars, had sent a total of close to $40,000.00 for various fees, taxes, insurances and commissions.
A few times during this scam, to make the scam seem more legitimate, the victim was asked to send money to people who lived locally in Saskatchewan. These local payments legitimized the scam in the mind of the victim, because he now had names and addresses of someone who lives in Saskatchewan associated with the lottery company.
When police tracked down these people in Saskatchewan we found that they were also victims of the same lottery scam and were told some funds will be coming their way to assist in paying some of the lottery fees. When these people received money from the Regina victim, they were also convinced the lottery was legitimate because they had now received real money. These local payments kept the scam going, which followed with further requests from the suspect for more money.
Through investigation police found a network of people throughout the country, who were being victimized by this same scammer, sometimes sending money among each other but always sending large amounts of money to the suspect in Jamaica.
The suspects are very aggressive and very convincing. In many situations where police find out about these victims being scammed and contact them, they are unaware they have been scammed, still thinking they will be receiving their winnings. In some cases even the police have a difficult time convincing the victims they will never see their lottery winnings, and their money is gone forever. Also in many cases, the victim hesitates to cooperate with police because of embarrassment.
The Regina Police Service would like to warn the public about the Winning Lottery Ticket Scam. People should know that if they were winners of a lottery, they will never be asked to send money before the funds will be released.