Fraudster posing as $70M lottery winner, promising free money on Facebook
Someone has been posing online as a recent lottery millionaire from B.C.'s Lower Mainland, promising free money to desperate people from around the world in an apparent ploy to defraud them.
The actual lottery winner, Christine Lauzon of Burnaby, claimed a Lotto Max jackpot of $70 million last October. At the time, she told the B.C. Lottery Corporation she planned to share some of her winnings with family, then speak with a financial advisor before deciding what to do next.
Weeks after her win, a Facebook account under her name, with a profile picture of Lauzon accepting her prize, posted a seemingly generous offer to people in need.
"I have volunteerilly decided to help people financially, to uplift businesses, to help pay medical bills and other depressing attention worth issues (sic)," it reads. "Let me know if you faced difficulty/depressing situations that you wanna share with me and seek help."
CTV News contacted the BCLC, which was able to reach Lauzon and confirm she is not behind the Facebook page.
A number of other fake accounts have also made posts thanking Lauzon, providing testimonials about receiving up to $10,000, no strings attached.
"Thanks to Christine. She just paid the mortgage on my house," one account wrote. "I have been so devastated since my business has been having issues since the COVID, and she just assisted me, without asking anything for her. May God bless her."
Real people who came across the page had different experiences. CTV News has heard from two women who were almost taken in, including someone from Lautoka, Fiji, who was thrilled at the opportunity for help fixing her family home.
"Every time there's heavy rain our house is flooded. The water goes inside half of the house, and we have to try to get out and go up to the church," she said.
The woman, who asked that her name not be published, messaged the fraudulent Christine Lauzon page on Jan. 1, and heard back hours later.
"I was telling her about how my situation is pretty hard, and she told me she was willing to help, but she was only helping through Bitcoin," she said.
"I told her I just need a little bit of help, $1,000, but she said she was going to send $100,000."
A fraudulent Facebook account posing as a B.C. lottery winner promised to give free money to people in need, but only if they deposited money in a Bitcoin wallet first.
The woman was devastated to learn the account is fake, but told CTV News she's thankful she hasn't lost any money of her own.
Screenshots of her conversation with the scammer show she was pressured into opening a Bitcoin wallet, and told she had to find a way to deposit $300 before she would receive any financial help. She had not been able to gather the money by the time she was contacted by CTV News.
The names of local lottery winners have been used in a number of previous scams, including one that promised up to $1 million in exchange for sensitive personal information from the targets.
The B.C. Lottery Corporation encouraged anyone who suspects criminal activity, such as fraud involving a lottery winner's identity, to contact police.
"BCLC cares about our players and we encourage them to contact us if they have questions or concerns," a spokesperson said in an email.
CTV News reached out to Facebook, which confirmed Friday that the account has been removed for violating the company's policy regarding misrepresentation.
"We will continue to monitor and take action in line with our policies and strongly encourage people to use all available reporting and blocking tools," a spokesperson said in an email.
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Woman with disabilities approved for medically assisted death relocated thanks to 'inspiring' support
A 31-year-old disabled Toronto woman who was conditionally approved for a medically assisted death after a fruitless bid for safe housing says her life has been 'changed' by an outpouring of support after telling her story.
The police official blamed for not sending officers in more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting is the chief of the school system's small police force, a unit dedicated ordinarily to building relationships with students and responding to the occasional fight.
Russia asserted Saturday that its troops and separatist fighters had captured a key railway junction in eastern Ukraine, the second small city to fall to Moscow's forces this week as they fought to seize all of the country's contested Donbas region.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos was met with justifiable criticisms and unfounded conspiracy theories.
Federal Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown says calling social conservatives 'dinosaurs' in a book he wrote about his time in Ontario politics was 'the wrong terminology.'
Speakers at the National Rifle Association annual meeting assailed a Chicago gun ban that doesn't exist, ignored security upgrades at the Texas school where children were slaughtered and roundly distorted national gun and crime statistics as they pushed back against any tightening of gun laws.
An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would come back for her so she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling allowing the Quebec City mosque shooter to be eligible for parole after 25 years is raising concern for more than a dozen similar cases.
A seven-person civil jury in Virginia will resume deliberations Tuesday in Johnny Depp's libel trial against Amber Heard. What the jury considers will be very different from the public debate that has engulfed the high-profile proceedings.
B.C. speedboat driver arrested with 650kg of meth 'feared for his family's safety,' he told U.S. investigators
New details are emerging after a 51-year-old Alberta man was arrested aboard a speedboat that U.S. authorities say was carrying 650 kilograms of methamphetamine between Washington state and British Columbia.
The emergency department at Port McNeill Hospital unexpectedly shut down on Friday evening due to a staffing shortage.
At least one building was destroyed Friday afternoon as firefighters rushed to a large fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay, B.C.
A southern Alberta man who killed three people, including a two-year-old girl, could have the ability to request a release from jail earlier than his original sentence intended, thanks to a landmark Supreme Court decision Friday.
Calgary Flames fans are still coming to terms with a playoff series loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in a game that saw both controversy and heartbreak following a Connor McDavid overtime goal.
Western Canada's premiers want to reform their health-care systems by expanding services but they say Ottawa first needs to pick up the phone.
A hotly-controversial decision on whether or not to freeze base funding for police in Edmonton was delayed Friday as fallout from a dispute between the mayor and the provincial justice minister continued to rattle political circles.
A 19-year-old man is in police custody after a shooting near Rogers Place after an Edmonton Oilers viewing party ended Thursday evening.
A shelter many expected to remain open until the end of June in Wetaskiwin, Alta., will close a month early.
WATCH | New video appears to show man carrying air rifle on Toronto streets before being killed by police
A man shot dead by police officers near a Toronto elementary school on Thursday afternoon appears to have been captured on home security footage carrying an air rifle moments before the incident.
A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing a slew of charges following a suspected hate-motivated incident at a Jewish school in North York.
Toronto Pearson International is warning travellers and Mississauga residents they may notice unusual activity at the airport this weekend.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
A man in his 80s is fighting for his life after being pulled out of the St. Lawrence River by a fellow resident who saw his vehicle had become submerged.
A large ship carrying chemical products ran aground during its passage through the St. Lawrence Seaway early Friday morning, backing up maritime traffic as tugboats tried to dislodge it.
Pembina Trails School Division is confirming to CTV News that a group of students found a body during community cleanup at Ècole South Pointe School.
Winnipeg police are telling people to find an alternate route this afternoon as they are investigating a fatal crash near the St. Boniface Industrial Park.
'It's one way to be creative': Winnipeg student wants to be a bartender when older; school doesn't like comment in yearbook
Bartender. That is what one Grade 4 student said for the yearbook when asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, an answer the school is asking him to change.
Barrett Ross says his dog Indy suffered a punctured bowel, lost a tooth and had his stomach injured when he was attacked by three other dogs.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council's (STC) temporary downtown shelter has been granted an extension to operate at its present location until April 2023 — but Tribal Chief Mark Arcand hopes to relocate well before then.
A pedestrian injured by a vehicle in Prince Albert has died.
Cyber security attacks happen every day, and as Regina Public Schools division discovered this week, no one is safe.
'Very upset': Senior housing residents plead for Sask. Housing Corporation to rebuild after winter fire
Former residents of a Carievale seniors housing complex want the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) to reconsider its decision to demolish the home.
Premiers from western Canada met to discuss healthcare in their first face-to-face meeting in more than two years in Regina on Friday at the 2022 Western Premiers' Conference.
A Cape Breton father is warning the public of the dangers in the area he lives after his teenager son fell nearly 40 feet over a cliff in Glace Bay.
A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.
The lawyer who represented a man who murdered three RCMP officers nearly eight years ago in Moncton, N.B., said a decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada Friday may potentially change his sentence.
The London Lightning were winners in the first game of their round one NBL playoff series.
It's the final campaign weekend on the campaign trail for Ontario's political party leaders.
Saturday’s powerful storm left a lasting impact across Ontario as city crews continue to deal with the damage. Western University’s Northern Tornado Project reported that two EF-1 tornadoes touched down in London — and on Friday, Environment Canada confirmed it.
Thursday evening, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce hosted the 25th annual Bell Business Excellence Awards.
On Friday, there was a walk in Sudbury to remember the remains of 215 residential schoolchildren found in Kamloops, B.C., a year ago May 27.
Staff at the new Sault Metis Centre are getting set for the grand opening Saturday.
A man, who was a referee at high school volleyball games in Guelph for more than 30 years, is facing sex assault-related charges.
The Region of Waterloo says there's a high safety risk at a Kitchener encampment and they are working with residents to prepare them for their eventual move.
Two low-cost airlines are butting heads over an agreement at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. Swoop wants to offer flights but the airport already has an exclusivity deal with rival Flair Airlines