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Mounties in a BC Interior community are reminding people to use caution when they receive phone calls from unfamiliar people saying they won a prize or if the caller asks too many questions.
The warning stems from a report of fraud received by the Grand Forks RCMP earlier this month after a local resident got a call from a New Jersey, USA phone number from someone claiming to be from the Publishers Clearing House.
A release says the caller told the resident they had won $35 million and a brand new 2023 Mercedes Benz.
The person was told to go to a local gas station and purchase an undisclosed amount of gift cards if they were serious about claiming the prize.
The victim claims the caller told them the gift cards would be turned over to a driver to deliver the prize.
Unfortunately, the person purchased the gift cards and gave the numbers over the phone to the fraudster.
Shortly after that, the fraudsters called again asking the person to obtain a $4,000 certified cheque. At this point, the person became suspicious and headed to the Grand Forks RCMP detachment where it was confirmed they had become a victim of fraud.
Grand Forks Sgt. Darryl Peppler says this is a very common fraud that many people continue to fall victim to, unfortunately.
Sgt. Peppler says many bigger stores have fraud alerts in place, however, smaller places like gas stations do not have those same alerts and training may not be in place so staff can advise someone they might be falling victim to a scam.
“While people are becoming more aware of the types of fraud that exist, it unfortunately still happens that people are falling victims to this crime. A good rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, then it likely is,” adds Sgt. Peppler.
For more information on how to detect or report fraud, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.