Fraud Scenario – Sweepstakes scheme

At 75 years old, Samuel is a retired veteran living on a modest pension. One day, he receives a letter in the mail. The letter states it is from a bank, indicates that Samuel has won a sweepstakes, and asks him to send money to cover taxes and insurance in order to claim a cash prize. Samuel is asked to verify his personal information and to send a large sum of money in bank drafts.

Samuel believed the letter was authentic, and sent the bank draft and his personal information to the address provided. Over the next few months, he continued to receive numerous phone calls from scammers, who continued to press him for further payments.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Samuel is not alone. Every year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to scams.

The CRA never offers sweepstakes or cash giveaways, and never will. But scammers continually find new ways to scam their victims. Taxpayers should always be vigilant to protect their personal information. Letters such as this should be ignored and reported to the RCMP Anti-Fraud Centre by email at or by calling 1-888-495-8501.

When in doubt, ask yourself:

  • Does this sound too good to be true?
  • How did the requester get my address?

Remember, it's critical for people of all ages to be vigilant and understand that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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