When Myrtle Acton opened a letter claiming that she had won $950,000 in a lottery, the alarm bells started ringing in her head.
The letter was written to the 88-year-old Sooke woman with the Set for Life Lottery logo, a mailing address from Kamloops and a signature from the president at the bottom.
“I wanted it to be true so badly, and that’s how they hook you,” said Acton. “It looked so authentic, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking that it had to be a scam.”
She didn’t know it at the time, but the letter’s address wasn’t for the B.C. Lottery Corporation, but actually for a single-family home in Kamloops. Also, the “President of Operations, Steve Martin” was fake, the phone number area code was from Toronto, and the letter stated the prize must be claimed by Jan. 30, 2020 – an entire year off.
Nonetheless, Acton dialled the number and was greeted by a man’s voice on the other end.
After confirming her name, the man explained that the Set for Life Lottery would deposit the money into her bank, but they would have to keep $95,000 for taxes.
The alarm bells went off in her head as she realized that most lottery wins in Canada are tax-free.
At that point, she hung up.
She immediately called Sooke RCMP, who told her that she had narrowly avoided a scam. Then, she notified her local credit union.
Acton said she’s been able to sniff out scams before, but never in the form of mail. A couple of years ago, she received a call from a man claiming to be her favourite grandson, who needed money to get out of a tough bind.
The moment Acton asked him what his name was, he immediately hung up.
“I just want to make sure that others don’t fall for this,” said Acton. “It’s horrible what these people do.”
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