A St. Marys resident who thought they had won more than $5 million and a new Mercedes was in fact the victim of a Publisher's Clearing House scam, according to a police news release.
On March 15, Stratford police received a report from a member of the victim's family, who approached an officer and expressed concerns regarding the incident. The officer went to the victim’s home in St Marys and learned that on Jan. 27, the resident received a phone call and was told that he had been randomly selected as a prize winner for Publisher’s Clearing House.
The victim was directed to send funds through e-transfer to various individuals to cover the taxes for both the United States and Canada. Since that date, repeated communication was held between the victim and several individuals who identified themselves as employees with Publisher’s Clearing House, with the victim sending over 25 e-transfers, for a total of $73,000.
This is a great example of a sweepstakes or lottery scam, police say.
In these types of scams fraudsters will contact potential prey to tell them they have won a prize. The victims are then told they need to pre-pay taxes, or administrative fees in order to claim their winnings.
Please be aware of these types of scams and learn how to protect yourself.
Here are a few tips:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is
- If you have not entered a contest, you cannot be a winner
- You will never be asked to pay money in advance of receiving a prize
- Don’t let fraudsters pressure you to make a decision, take your time by hanging up the phone and doing some research on what is being offered
- Most importantly, share this information with others
- By creating awareness, we can all play a part in fraud prevention