Peel Regional Police have arrested and charged a 60-year-old Brampton, Ont., man in connection to a series of lottery scams starting in 2020.
Clive Lothian, 60, was arrested for what investigators from the Fraud Bureau are calling a lottery scam affecting elderly victims throughout Canada. On Sept. 15, a thorough investigation concluded that Lothian was luring victims into believing they had won the lottery, and they had to pay a fee in order to claim their prize.
“The suspect allegedly contacted the victims and told them they had won millions in the lottery,” said the Peel Regional Police in a media release. “The victims were required to pay the taxes for their winnings to be released.”
The victims were then instructed to send their payments to the suspect located in Brampton, with such frauds occurring over a period of almost two years, starting in November 2020.
Law enforcement partners assisted Peel Regional Police in Moose Jaw, Sask., Bridgewater, N.S., Thunder Bay and Timmins, Ont., in a thorough investigation, which culminated with a search warrant executed by Peel Regional Police.
Lothian has been charged with four counts of fraud over $5,000, two counts possession of proceeds of crime, and one count of defrauding the public.
He was released with a court date and will appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on Oct.16, to answer the charges.
Investigators believe that additional victims may exist, and are asking the public to contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3335 if they recognize the suspect from the photo above, or have been involved in a similar fraud crime. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting peelcrimestoppers.ca.
Identifying a lottery scam: How to protect yourself
The Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC), which has jurisdiction in Alberta and Manitoba, shared a few tips to help identify a lottery scam. They specify that members of the public should not, under any circumstances, “send money or personal and financial information to someone making a request.”
You will know it is a scam, if:
You didn’t purchase a ticket or enter a contest in your said province. If so, it is likely that you would not be entitled to a prize.
You have been informed that you’ve won a lottery prize from another country.
You have been asked to pay taxes or fees to claim said prize.
You are provided with a cheque from a third-party organization to assist with paying taxes or fees.
You are instructed to not tell anyone about your “win” or else you will be unable to claim your prize.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is also reminding Canadians to be diligent and protect themselves from scams and fraud. They note that “scammers can target any Canadian or Canadian business,” regardless of their demographic.
As an individual, make sure you are always protecting yourself by:
Not being afraid to say "no." Don’t be intimidated by high-pressure sales tactics.
Do your research and always verify that the organization you are dealing with is legitimate.
Do not give out any personal information. This includes your name, address, birthdate, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and/or credit card or banking information.
Beware of upfront fees. Many scams will request you pay fees in advance — however, it is illegal for a company to ask you to pay a fee upfront before they give you a loan.
Protect your computer. Don’t click on any urgent-looking messages you see when browsing online.
Carefully consider who you are sharing videos and images with.
Protect your online accounts by creating a strong password, enabling multi-factor authentication and ensuring you do not reveal any personal information over social media.
The CAFC is also reminding residents to beware of spoofing, and equip yourself with how to recognize and identify the dangerous practice. Spoofing is used by fraudsters to mislead victims and convince them that they are communicating with legitimate people, companies and organizations.
Spoofing can occur through caller ID; where fraudsters will manipulate the phone number appearing on call display, email or websites. In all cases, fraudsters will manipulate the information to appear as if you are receiving it from a legitimate source.
To protect yourself from spoofing, ensure you always hang up and make the outgoing call when someone claims to be contacting you from your financial institution, service provider, law enforcement or government agency — call the company or agency in question directly.
If you have been contacted by someone who indicates that you have won a lottery prize, simply disregard the request. Contact your provincial lottery organization to double check if your prize is legitimate, and report any fraud, even if it resulted in no money lost, to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.