SURREY (NEWS1130) – It appears someone is using the name of a lottery winner from Surrey in an attempt to scam people out of their money.
A woman from the United States contacted News1130 after receiving emails from someone calling themselves Timothy Kiemel.
“And he says Harry Black chose three people randomly to give $2 million to,” explains Michelle Gantzer from Virginia.
Black is the 66-year-old man from Surrey who had two winning tickets for a massive Lotto Max jackpot in April. He collected more than $30 million.
Gantzer says she eventually got a phone call.
“The person contacted me through my cellphone,” she explains. “And it was a restricted number.”
“And then he said I had to give him $450 to open the account, before Harry Black could deposit the money into it.”
She says the scammer even used the name of a real financial institution, Guarantee Trust Bank in the United Kingdom.”That is a real bank, I looked it up.”
Gantzer became suspicious and did a Google search of Black’s name, finding a News1130 story about the man’s lottery win. She decided to call the radio station.
“I just hate that people are so ruthless,” she says. “And I hate that they are using somebody’s good name to make a profit.”
This is not the first time scammers have used the names of lottery winners in their unscrupulous operations.
Mark Fernandes with the Better Business Bureau in Metro Vancouver says a similar scam was run following a lottery win by a couple from Nova Scotia, three years ago.
“Violet and Allen Large really did win $11 million, a 6/49 jackpot, in 2010,” he says. “And in the end, their names were actually used without their permission in an email scam that was being circuated around.”
He says the names of winners are publicized, and warns scammers will use the information to make their frauds look legitimate.
He says advanced-fee scams are common and should be treated with a high degree of suspicion from the first contact.
“The biggest red flags that we know of are advanced-fee schemes in which either you are given a fake cheque to deposit and then wire the money back, or you’re just to wire money directly to another source,” he warns. “That’s a big no-no.”
“If anyone, like a stranger, is requesting that you wire money to secure any kind of lottery winnings, that is not something that happens. Usually, if you have to pay any fees, that will be included in your winnings,” Fernandes explains.
“Of course, a winner of a lottery is not likely to contact you unless you have a direct relationship, and I seriously doubt they would actually send you an email notifying you that you’ve won two or a million dollars.”
Fernandes says you need to verify the source of the offer, always. And he adds, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.