Skip to content

Woman offers warning about fake Reader’s Digest prize

Huge prize too good to be true, says Helen Smith

ATHABASCA – A local woman is warning others about a possible scam from people posing as Reader’s Digest. 

Helen Smith opened her mail July 6 and was informed she had won over $1 million from Reader’s Digest, but instead of celebrating, she recognized there were some discrepancies in the letter so she took it down to the Athabasca RCMP Detachment. 

“I knew it had to be a scam because it just didn’t look right so I took it down to the RCMP,” Smith said. 

Smith said two members inspected the letter and agreed it was most likely a scam. They even tried calling the number listed in the letter and suggested Smith contact the newspaper so others could be warned. 

When the Advocate called the number in the letter, which has a Toronto area code, a man claiming to be Allen J. Wells answered and asked when the letter was received, the claim number, a name and phone number and then said not to tell anyone about the winnings. 

"It will take about one week for this claim number to be verified. In the meantime, keep your letter at a very safe place. Don't discuss this content with no one yet until we have fully verify this claim and send out your money. Everything looks good. We will speak with you before next week, Monday and you have yourself a great day,” he said. 

A call to Reader’s Digest head office in White Plains, New York, got a statement read by one of the operators after she asked for the address listed in the letter as well as the phone number. 

“Based on the information you provided, I assure you that this is not a legitimate Reader's Digest reader notification. And if you've already given your personnel information in response to the notification that you have received, then I can recommend to contact your local authorities for anti-fraud,” the operator said. 

Smith had also contacted Reader’s Digest and was told any legitimate letter would be sent registered mail. 

“Reader’s Digest said there will be a logo on the envelope and that it would be registered,” Smith said noting the stamp shows it was mailed in Canada when it would come from the US. 

If you or someone you know are a victim of fraud contact your local RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. 

Heather Stocking,
Follow me on Twitter @HLSox