Phone scammer picks wrong guy

By Glenn Hicks
January 9, 2018 - 2:00pm

A Prince Albert man, who knows a things or two about winning big prizes, is warning the community not to be one of the “suckers" lured into the latest phone scam.

Charlie Chicoine got a call Monday from someone telling him he’d been selected at random as the winner of a $700,000 cash prize but needed to pay an admin fee of $199 into a Western Union account before the money was released to him.

They picked the wrong guy.

“I told [the caller] I’ve never heard of anybody who has to pay to get their winnings,” Chicoine told paNOW. “He didn’t know what to say after I told him that. I said ‘we’re done’ and hung up.”

When it comes to legitimate prize wins, 63-year-old Chicoine speaks from serious experience.

He and his wife won a 3,200 square foot home in Saskatoon valued at $1.25 million in the 2014 Kinsmen Riverfront Home Lottery.

“If you’re legitimately winning a prize [the organizers] want to get it out to you and publicize it, not the way [these scammers] are going about things,” he said.

Phone scams prevail across Canada and the RCMP have released many public warnings about not falling prey to callers who ask for private information, identification or request the would-be victim to deposit money into a certain account. paNOW has received many social media comments suggesting phone fraudsters seem to be of a certain racial profile, but Chicoine’s experience confirms that the scammers can come from any quarter.

“[The man] on the line sounded very monotone, English speaking and non-distinguishable. It could have been a Canadian, he didn’t sound Asian or European. It was a moderate North American accent,” he said.

Chicoine said he was suspicious during the call, but the scammer didn’t mention the need to pay a $199 fee until at the end of the presentation. That’s when he knew it was totally wrong.

“You know $199 doesn’t sound like a lot compared to what you’re supposedly winning, but every time they get $199 from every sucker they can lure in, that can add up pretty fast,” he said.

He’s sharing his story because he knows some people still get caught out

“My wife said she’d heard about a scam a few weeks back and announcements by media and police really make you aware.”


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