Durham police are asking people to be extra cautious after two deaf Durham residents became victims to an online lottery scam.
An elderly Oshawa woman contacted police last month to report a fraud. According to police, the woman, who is deaf and communicates mainly through Facebook and Skype, received a friend request from someone she knew who then directed her to contact a male from the so-called “Facebook Powerball Lottery.” As is the case with lottery scams, the victim was told she had won a large amount of money, but needed to pay fees in order to secure her winnings, with the initial fee coming in at $5,000. She paid that fee, as well as thousands more after asked for additional funds, with the source being outside North America. It was then that the victim determined it was a scam and called police.
Earlier this month, a deaf Pickering male also received a notice saying he had won a lottery, and was asked to pay $2,000 to claim his winnings.
Police say they believe the victims’ identities were sources from user groups on Facebook and Skype that include members of the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired community.
Police are advising residents to be wary of messages saying they have won a lottery they did not enter, and that no legitimate lottery will require you to pay a fee to collect winnings.