Being a long-time reader of Reader’s Digest didn’t prevent a Salmon Arm resident from hanging up on individuals claiming to be with the publication asking for money.
In fact, Donna (last name withheld) hung up twice on her callers who’d asked her to submit payment in order to receive a cheque for $3.5 million.
“The minute they started asking for money, you know damned well there’s something wrong,” Donna cautioned.
The Salmon Arm resident called the Observer to share her experience with the would-be scammers so that others who receive a similar call might hang up sooner.
“It was actually quite a detailed conversation – not that they got any money out of me, but I thought, ‘oh my God, they sound very convincing,’” said Donna. “And because I do subscribe to Reader’s Digest, it took me off guard.”
The call came on Monday, Jan. 11, by individuals purportedly with Reader’s Digest with the news Donna and her husband had won money.
“They disclosed it was $3.5 million, tax free of course,” said Donna. “And then he gave me his name, Andy Mason, a phone number, and he gave us a package number, a cheque number and a claim number. And then what happened was he put his supervisor… on the line, who confirmed all the numbers with me.”
After confirming the numbers, Donna was asked who she banked, and then the caller said they needed her bank card number.
“I said no you don’t, you’re not getting it,” said Donna. “So they said, OK, we’ll FedEx it to your house. I said OK, fine. I was waiting to see what would happen then.
“In order to FedEx to my house, they asked for $1,500 – for insurance apparently. And I said that’s ridiculous. Then they came back with, ‘Oh, well, $800.’”
Over the course of the call Donna said she spoke with three people. After being asked for money, she hung up.
Five minutes later, Donna received another call, from the same individuals, who suggested they’d been disconnected.
“I said no, I hung up on you. So anyway, as it was, I hung up on them again,” said Donna.
After sharing her story with the Observer, Donna said she would be sharing it with the RCMP, along with the names and phone numbers she recorded.
In December 2020, Sicamous RCMP said they’d been made aware of three attempts made to defraud local seniors through a Reader’s Digest lottery scam.
According to Reader’s Digest Canada, sweepstakes winners are never asked for money to enter or receive any prize. Those who are are encourage to contact local authorities or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501), a government agency that monitors and identifies marketing fraud across the country.