VANCOUVER -- Coquitlam RCMP say  a Burnaby resident has been charged with four counts of fraud after he allegedly scammed people with fake Publishers Clearing House prize offers.

The man was allegedly pretending to offer prizes from Publishers Clearing House, an actual U.S.-based company well-known for its large sweepstakes and giveaways

Twenty-seven-year-old Joel Kibangula has been charged with four counts of fraud over $5,000 for allegedly running a Publisher’s Clearing House Scam, according to a news release from Const. Deanna Law of Coquitlam RCM.

The scam is alleged to have affected four people “over multiple jurisdictions.”

According to police, they received a complaint about the scam more than a year ago, on Nov. 4, 2019.

“Coquitlam’s Economic Crime Unit immediately took conduct of the file, and after a thorough investigation, including authorizations, police seized multiple cell phones, a laptop and over $20,000 in cash,” reads the news statement.

According to Law, scammers target citizens with high-pressure scare tactics. This specific scam, dubbed the “Publishers Clearing House Scam,” includes telling the victim that they’ve won a prize but that they pay tax on the prize before collecting it.

Things to keep in mind when being offered a prize like this, according to police, are that contest or lottery winners don’t typically pay tax on their winnings, and that it’s impossible to win a prize for a contest one has not entered.

For more information on evolving scams, or to report any type of fraudulent activity, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.