Special to the Langley Advance
A Langley winner of a $50-million lottery jackpot, who went to great lengths to conceal his identity, is being used in an online scam that promises to donate $1 million to five lucky recipients.
Friedrich Mayrhofer and his wife, Annand, showed up last month to collect the Lotto Max prize, 21 months after they won it, on March 14, 2014.
The Mayrhofers, whom the B.C. Lottery Corp. called private, had tried to sign the ticket over to a trust in an attempt to have a third party cash the ticket for them, before being told that was against the rules and reluctantly collecting it themselves.
Now an email is circulating as far as Florida, using the couple to phish for sensitive personal information by offering big bucks in return.
Lucy Quintana first received a text from Ruben Perez Brinquis, who identified himself as a barrister writing on behalf of the Mayrhofer Foundation. The text said, “a donation has been made to you, kindly write us … “ at email address ending in foxmail.com.
She sent an email asking for information and got a reply signed by “Friedrich and Annand Mayrhofer,” offering her a donation of $1 million “as part of our charity project.”
The email said the Mayrhofers were keeping only $1 million of the $50 million because they are elderly and had enough money for their three kids (the couple has two grown sons) and have given the bulk away to a number of well-known charities.
According to the email, the couple is giving away the remaining $5 million in $1-million lump sums – in exchange for a cellphone number, address and a scanned copy of a passport or driver’s licence, so “we can forward your details to the payout bank.” The email includes a link to an online CBC story written when the Mayrhofers won the prize and included the photos taken by the media that day.
“Can you tell me if this is true, please?” Quintana asked in an email to The Province from her home near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “I don’t know if it is a fraud. I’m afraid to lose this opportunity, but I’m afraid, too, to be in trouble.”
BCLC spokeswoman Angela Koulyras said she hadn’t heard of the letter, but would “flag it to security.”
The Mayrhofers couldn’t be reached for comment.
– Susan Lazaruk is a reporter for the Vancouver Province