Richmond RCMP is investigating after a local resident was scammed out of $4,500, believing she'd won the lottery.
In May of this year the victim received a phone call advising her that she had won the lottery worth $150,000.
But in order to claim her money, she would first have to send $4,500 to China.
The victim initially did not believe the caller and, as such, did not send any money.
The calls continued and during one of these calls the voice on the other end of the phone provided the victim with a website.
The victim visited the website at which time she discovered a related phone number.
"The victim called the phone number and spoke to a female who informed the victim that the lottery was legitimate," said Richmond RCMP's Cpl. Sherrdean Turley.
"The victim still didn't believe that she had won the lottery and consequently did not send any money."
However, the calls to the victim continued, which prompted the victim to call the number from the website again.
Again she was told the lottery was legitimate and, as a result, decided to wire $4,500 to China, supposedly to a lawyer.
As soon as the money was sent, the calls stopped, which left the victim wondering when she would receive her prize.
The victim phoned the number from the website again, but it was disconnected.
The woman's experience is not unique, according to Turley, and is often referred to as the "lottery scam." The scam comes in two guises, one where someone claims to be a lawyer from a firm responsible for distributing funds. However, the funds can't be handed over until a processing fee or legal fee is paid. The second variation is the one described above.
"It's important for people to remember that you can't win the lottery without buying a ticket," Turley added.
"Legitimate lotteries do not contact winners and you never have to send money to redeem your prize, even if you're told it's an emergency.
"Don't let the repetitive calls pressure you into giving in."
Some red flags to be aware of are as follows:
Ã¹ Unsolicited calls asking if you would like to be in a "lottery pool".
Ã¹ You receive mail notifying you that you've won a substantial amount of money.
Ã¹ Requests for you to send cash to redeem your prize.
Ã¹ Being told that you must keep your winnings a secret to avoid tax consequences.
For more information on scams and tips on how not to become a victim, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca
Richmond RCMP is requesting that anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this scam to contact their local police. For Richmond RCMP, call 604-278-1212.