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Most Canadians know not to fall for fake lottery scams originating in places like Nigeria, but now some con artists are operating directly within our borders.

If you happen to receive a call asking if you’ve bought a lottery ticket in Canada, you should probably just hang up. Because if you say “yes”, the person on the other end will likely tell you that you won something (usually a lot of money like $500,000), but before you can collect that prize, you will have to send over a processing fee.

In the heat of the moment, you might get excited enough to fork over the cash–but don’t. Because you’ll really regret it.

There are two glaring problems with this scenario:

  1. The Canadian Gaming Association says the lotteries in this country never phone people
  2. You never have to pay a processing fee to collect a prize. Ever.

Keep in mind that when we describe this on paper it sounds obvious, but the caller will do everything they can to make themselves seem legit. The calls will likely originate from a local, Canadian number, and the person on the other end will identify themselves as working for a real lottery corporation. They may even say you won a prize for shopping at a certain retail location.

Either way, take our advice at the top of the article and just hang up if you receive one of these calls. To be clear: there is no way they are real. You should also inform the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre so that those crooks can go where they belong: jail.

Other red flags include when the caller asks for your banking information, or when they send you a sample cheque of your winnings.

“Calling and saying you won a prize out of the blue, that’s not done by any lottery or gaming corporation in the country,” said Paul Burns, who works for the Canadian Gaming Association. “The lotteries of Canada don’t phone people, we as an association don’t phone people and it is a scam.”

For more information on lottery scams and how you can avoid them, check out the video above.

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