Scammers target Prince Albert couple

A local couple received a phone call, where the man on the other end informed them they won a grand prize. Soon, things became fishy. (Courtesy Flickr)

Bianca Bharti, Daily Herald

A Prince Albert couple answered their phone early Thursday morning and learned they had just won $75,000 and a Ford Explorer.

The man on the other end claimed to be from STARS Lottery. Jocelyn, 70, and George Meyer, 81, had purchased a lottery ticket earlier and so thought nothing of the call that came in as “unknown.”

Soon the couple was transferred to a different woman, allegedly at the Saskatoon office. She informed the Meyers that they did indeed win, but to claim their prize, they would need to mail a $475 money order to an address. As soon as that was done, their car and money would be delivered to them the same day.

The Meyers went to the bank, got their money order but began to get suspicious. They called up the woman in Saskatoon and told her they would give the money order once their prize rolled onto their driveway. She informed them that “that’s not how it works,” Jocelyn said.

“That’s when we clued in and thought ‘uh, oh. There’s something not quite right here.’ There were a lot of other red flags that we didn’t really pick up on until we realized this was going on.”

Jocelyn said she was confused as to how these telephone scammers got their number.

“We don’t want other people to fall into that trap. They’re so convincing when they start, it seems true. Then you kind of get taken by that.”

Staff Sgt. Travis Willie of the Prince Albert Police Service said if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. He advised people to ask questions if you believe it’s suspicious.

“If people are being pushy, rude or obnoxious it is a red flag as legit businesses/organizations do not operate that way,” he wrote in an email.

He also said to trust your instincts and not give out personal information if you do not know who you’re speaking to. “It’s okay to hang up, say no or not commit to anything you are not sure about.”

On the STARS Lottery website, they warn people against lottery scammers.

“You will never be asked to send money to claim a STARS lottery prize. Period. If you are being asked to send a cheque, money order, or payment of any kind to claim your lottery prize, it is a scam. Hang up the phone or delete the email,” the website says online.

“Check with STARS directly to verify if you are a winner. You are always welcome to check the official lottery winners list on our website or contact us to confirm if you have won a prize. Always use our official numbers and website…. and not the ones a scammer may provide.”