Peel Police – Fraud Alert – Lottery Scam Targeting Seniors
Peel– Peel Regional Police would like to alert the public to a scam to that is being used to defraud seniors. Since February 2010, there have been five (5) reported incidents, all with the same method of operation.
Typically, a female suspect will select an elderly victim, approach them, and ask for assistance in locating an address. The suspect would then explain how she is a lottery winner, but needs assistance claiming the winnings, as she is an illegal immigrant. The suspect would explain that she needs collateral to claim the prize.
At this point a second suspect, usually a male, would join the first suspect and victim, and advise that he is willing to help. The two suspects would then attempt to talk the victim into withdrawing money from the bank. Typically victims are asked to withdraw amounts ranging from $2,800.00 to $10,000.00 cash.
Once the money is withdrawn, the male suspect would place the money into a bag and exchanges it for another bag that contains newsprint. The bag containing newsprint is given to the victim, who is unaware of the switch. Then, on the way to the lottery office, the male suspect would tell the victim that he needs some stamps and would stop at a local pharmacy. The victim would be asked to go into the store, to purchase the stamps, and the two suspects would flee before the victim returned.
These incidents have occurred in both Mississauga and Oakville, with all five incidents occurring along the Dundas Street corridor. Two incidents occurred in Mississauga, in the area of Dundas Street and Hurontario Street. Investigators suspect that the victims are being targeted in areas that are in close proximity to a pharmacy, so that the suspects can use the guise of buying stamps to flee with the victim’s money.
The suspects described in the incidents are both of Hispanic descent. Both the female and the male suspects appear to be in their early 30’s to early 40’s, 5’2” to 5’7” tall and have accents. In four of the five occurrences, the suspects were driving a silver coloured four-door compact vehicle, similar to a Toyota or Nissan.
The following tips are measures that may be undertaken to prevent this type of deception:
- Don’t do business with people who approach you first.
- If you are asked to sign any cheques or documents, ensure that it is for a legitimate reason. If in doubt, check with a trusted friend, lawyer, accountant or the police.
- Never give your credit card number, bank information or social insurance number for “verification” purposes.
- Be wary of any “nice” stranger, if the conversation deals with money.
If you, or someone you know, has been victimized in this manner, please contact the Fraud Bureau for assistance.
Investigators would like to speak to anyone who may have information regarding the suspects’ identity or whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3335. Information can also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), by visiting their website at www.peelcrimestoppers.ca, or by texting “PEEL”, followed by your tip, to CRIMES (274637).