AVOIDING LOTTERY PRIZE SCAMS AND IDENTITY FRAUD
Have you received unsolicited emails, letters, or telephone calls asking you to pay taxes or fees on lottery winnings or have you been asked to provide personal information to claim a prize?
The classic prize pitch scam involves victims receiving notification by post, phone, or e-mail indicating they have won a prize (monetary or other valued item). However, in order to collect the prize the victim is required to pay various fees or taxes in advance. Victims either never hear from the organization again or receive further requests for money. If you have won a prize in Canada there are no fees or taxes to be paid.
Read the fraud indicators below for tips to identify and avoid lottery fraud and scams.
- Keep track of contests, draws and lotteries you enter
- Challenge a caller who says you've won a prize to tell you where and when you entered
- Remember: there are no prize fees or taxes in Canada
- You did not buy a ticket
- You have never heard of the lottery game
- You did not register your name, address, email address, phone number, and a credit card before you were allowed to buy a ticket on an online lottery website
- You do not live in the country and you are not a citizen of the country of that lottery
- You are asked to pay money up front for fees or taxes in order to release your "win"
- You are told you must reply within a given time or the money will be given to someone else
Report Lottery Fraud
If you suspect you have received a solicitation from a fraudulent sweepstakes or lottery, you should report it to your local police department, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or your postmaster or nearest Postal Inspector.
You can also contact Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a central agency that collects information on telemarketing complaints throughout Canada and relays this information to the appropriate enforcement agencies. You can contact Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 in Canada and the United States, or online.
Visit the Canada Revenue Agency at www.cra.gc.ca/myths for more information on protecting yourself from this and other types of fraud.
The Heart&Stroke Calendar Lottery does not require lottery winners to send in a payment to claim a prize or to provide personal information by letter, email or phone. Consumers receiving these types of requests should contact our customer service department at 1-855-478-4383.