An email scam circulating the continent is exploiting the generosity of Calgary lotto winner Tom Crist.
Crist, who won $40 million dollars in lottery money last year, made headlines around the world when he announced he would funnel all his winnings into a charity set up in his late wife's name.
That generosity, however, does not extend to random individuals.
According to CBC News, the email scam informs recipients they will receive $1.2 million in lottery winnings in exchange for personal information. The scam has reached far and wide, even claiming a Massachusetts single mother as one of its victims.
“That’s very sad — it’s so unfortunate,” Crist told the Calgary Sun Thursday.
It's the second scam that's emerged in connection with his name - the first being a Facebook page, reports Global News.
"People are trying to take advantage of a good thing. and that's really unfortunate. And I just say stay away from it. I am sending nothing out, whether its Facebook, email, anything. There’s nothing going out from the real Tom Crist right now. Period," he told CBC News.
According to the website hoax-layer.com, which works to inform Internet users of online scams, the emails look something like this:
"Subject: Charity Donation Funds.
Tom Crist, the Canadian man that won a $40 million Canadian dollar lottery prize is writing to inform you that Google in alliance with Facebook have submitted your Email-Address to receive $1,200,000.00 USD from me, as I have decided to give all my winnings away to charity, individuals and organisations.
For claims, send me your *Full-Names, *Age, *Phone-Number, *Address and *Country.
my recent donations on link below."
Furthermore, the email scammer will then ask for money upfront to cover various "legal fees," including legal and insurance costs, before the funds can be released. This is how the scam parts money from its victims.
According to the Sun, Naeemah Mitchell of Massachusetts was duped. She replied to the email and was sent links to news articles about Crist's generosity.
"I thought I was talking to Tom Crist, and he told me the story of his wife -- I told him I understood how it is to lose someone you love, because I lost my parents and husband," the single mother of two told the Sun, adding she will never see the $550 she lost to the scam. She also won't be able to buy the puppy she had promised her son, Mitchell adds.
Calgary police say emails like this should be ignored and deleted right away, without clicking on links or replying.