A scammer who claimed to be from Shoppers Drug Mart called a Rockland woman last week. She said the scammer had asked if she had a PC Optimum card and said she had won $35,000 in a contest. To claim the prize, she needed to visit a Shoppers store and purchase $900 worth of gift cards.
The scammer said once she had called a Saskatoon-area number, the money would be delivered via cheque in the mail, and also asked which banks she had accounts with. She did not answer, but hung up.
The resident said she hoped as many people as possible were made aware of the scam so vulnerable people did not become victims. “There are so many people out there nowadays that are financially hurting and I do not want to see anyone get pulled into this scam,” she said. “I just don’t want anyone getting caught in this.”
In response to questions about the incident, a spokesperson for Loblaw, which owns Shopper’s Drug Mart, said the company was aware of such fraudulent calls, and warned that they were often an attempt to access customers’ personal and financial information.
“If customers receive this call, we encourage them to hang up,” the spokesperson said. “We do not enlist the help of third parties to make calls to our customers.”
The Ontario Provincial Police has received calls about numerous scams in recent weeks, including those similar to the one targeting the Rockland resident. Other scams included attempts to obtain credit card or social insurance numbers, or claimed to be from businesses using “spoofing,” in which their actual phone number was masked to appear as though it came from a local area code.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said there were no prize fees or taxes, and to beware if a caller asked you to pay in advance before receiving any alleged winnings. The centre encouraged people not to give out personal information over the phone during unsolicited calls.
Anyone affected by a scam was asked to contact the centre on 1-888-495-8501. If money was lost in a scam, residents were asked to contact local police as well.