DRPS is warning the public of an online lottery scam that defrauded a deaf Oshawa senior out of thousands of dollars.
Last month, an elderly female from Oshawa contacted police to report a fraud. The victim is deaf and communicates mainly through Facebook and Skype. She received a friend request from someone she knew, who then directed her to contact a male from the "Facebook Powerball Lottery."
As with similar lottery scams, the victim was told she had won a substantial lottery, but was required to pay fees to secure the winnings. The initial fee of $5,000 was then followed by additional requests for more money, to pay taxes from the host country. The victim paid thousands more to the suspect before determining it was a scam. The money was transferred to a source outside of North America.
In early April, a 58-year-old Pickering man received a message from a Facebook user telling him that his name was on a lottery list - a lottery that was to benefit those in the deaf community. When the victim contacted the site, he was required to send $2,000 to claim the winnings. When additional requests were received, the victim called police.
In both cases, investigators believe that the victims' identities and their contacts were gathered from Facebook and Skype user-groups that include members of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Speech Impaired (DHHSI) community.
Lottery Scams utilize letters, emails or text messages saying you have won a guaranteed prize in a lottery or competition that you did not enter. If someone asks you to pay money up-front in order to receive a prize or winnings, it's almost always a scam. Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee to collect winnings.
A video describing this incident can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64QNdpUoEKk
Anyone wishing to report a fraud is asked to contact Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520.
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