Oh, it never ceases to amaze me how cunning scam artists are becoming. It seems like whenever a massive jackpot has been won, the scams start rolling in. The latest comes out of Edmonton, and it involves a whopping $50 million jackpot.
The Unclaimed Prize
December 20, 2013, the numbers, 2, 13, 18, 24, 27, 37, and 43, were drawn and there was a single winning ticket—except no one claimed the prize! The Canadian Lottery Corporation gives the winner of the jackpot a full year to claim their prize, just in case they forget to check their tickets (how often does that happen??) or they have lost the winning ticket and they are trying to prove they are the winners.
If the prize wasn’t claimed within that year, it would have been the largest unclaimed jackpot in Canada’s history. The current largest unclaimed prize was in 2006 to the tune of $14.9 million, which was added back to the prize pool.
Mid-June 2014, an Edmonton couple finally came forward and claimed their prize. Andrea and Bill Groner sat on their good news for six months, to process the news and come to terms with the massive win.
The couple decided to continue living their daily lives until they knew what to do. When the Western Canada Lottery Corporation announced on television that the jackpot still had gone unclaimed, the couple still didn’t know what they wanted to do with the win.
Now that the couple has finally come forward and claimed the jackpot, millions of Canadians can get some sleep and stop looking for that missing ticket!
Scams Straight from the Spam Box
While the Groner’s were debating on what to do with their winnings, some shady people were already plotting on how to exploit the situation and trick unsuspecting people out of their hard earned money.
A woman in Vancouver received an email that was riddled with typos stating she was one of “six lucky individuals all over the world” who would be able to receive $1 million from the people who won the $50 million jackpot.
The email was supposedly sent from the Groners, and it stated that the recipient of the email would have to “get back to us with your details so we can forward it directly to the payout bank.”
Now if that isn’t suspicious enough, a second email was sent, and in this, it asked for the recipient to include their driver’s license number or a passport number. The email also claimed, “This is a lifetime opportunity and 100% legitimate.”
The email also included four photographs of the Groners, as if that would somehow vouch for the validity of the email and its claims. Of course, the scammers just took pictures that they could find around on the internet.
Lack of Protection for the Winners
I have a gripe with the lottery agencies. What baffles me is that they are well aware that scams pop up and they use the names, photographs, and personal information of the lottery winners. Why is it necessary for the winners to come forward with where they live, their names, and a recent photograph? How is that safe for the winners?
Sure, they decide to play the lottery, and they know that if they should win, they will have to make an announcement… But come on! With all the crazies popping out of the woodwork, who knows what kind of danger they are being put in. Sure, the lottery officials tell you to be cautious of social media and get an unlisted phone number, but that isn’t always enough. Then, if they are being used as some part of a scam, think of all the disgruntled victims who may have fallen for the said scam? That is adding another layer of danger to the lotto winners!
In my opinion, the winners should be able to go through an intermediary to keep their identities private—just for safety reasons. People go crazy when money is involved.