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Victoria couple plans to spend $35M Lotto Max win on house, travel | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


Debbie Ramsay accepted the big cheque from B.C. Lottery Corporation with husband Lahsen Rezrazi on Friday.

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A Victoria couple is dreaming of a waterfront house and a camper van to do a road trip across the country after winning a $35-million Lotto Max jackpot.

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“We’re still kind of shocked,” said Debbie Ramsay, who accepted the big cheque from B.C. Lottery Corporation with her husband, Lahsen Rezrazi, on Friday.

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In a video provided by BCLC, Rezrazi said he was on his way to pick up Ramsay on Wednesday when he decided to stop at a grocery store for milk and cream. He thought he’d check his lottery tickets as well.

“I won $10, a free play and the last ticket I scanned said $35 million,” Rezrazi said. He checked the winning ticket over again before returning to his car, where he started to cry and called his wife.

“No more working for you,” he told her.

Ramsay plans to retire, but Rezrazi will be back at work on Monday. The video didn’t indicate what kind of work they do.

Ramsay didn’t believe her husband at first when he told her about their big win. She thought he was pulling a prank on her, and asked him to prove they had won.

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They went back to the store together so she could scan the ticket herself and she downloaded BCLC’s app to check again.

The couple said they plan to share their jackpot with family members, many of whom they hadn’t told about their win before publicly receiving the cheque Friday afternoon.

“They’re going to be very excited when they see this, because most of them don’t know we won. They do now,” she said.

They want to take a trip to Venice for their anniversary and buy a house on the ocean. Rezrazi is dreaming of a new Mercedes camper van to take a road trip across the country.

Ramsay said she has been playing the Lotto Max since it started and the couple buys lottery tickets at least a couple of times a week. They already had a ticket to the Friday night Lotto Max draw.

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She had one piece of advice for others after the win: “Play the lotto. You don’t know when you’re going to win.”

Rezrazi and Ramsay bought their winning ticket at Quality Foods in View Royal.

The $70-million jackpot on June 6 was split between the Victoria couple and a ticket purchased in Ontario.

B.C. lottery players have collected more than $130 million from Lotto Max, a nationwide lottery game drawn on Tuesdays and Fridays.

But Rezrazi and Ramsay may want to beware of scams in the wake of their high-profile win.

In April, Sidney bookkeeper Scott Gurney was revealed as the ticket holder who had won $55 million in a Feb. 28 Lotto Max draw.

Several fake Facebook accounts using photos of the 58-year-old holding his lottery cheque subsequently appeared online. In some cases, the imposters offered to give money to people in need, and managed to scam Bitcoin out of them instead.

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Scott Gurney
Scott Gurney of Sidney picked up his $55-million cheque on Tuesday, April 4, after winning the Feb. 28 Lotto Max draw. Photo by BCLC

A Shawnigan Lake man said he contacted a Facebook page that he believed belonged to Gurney asking for financial help. The scammer agreed to give the man $60,000 to pay off his debt but said he didn’t want to provide funds via e-transfer because he was concerned about email privacy.

He told the man to open a Bitcoin account, which cost $450, to receive the money.

Eventually the man became suspicious and contacted the real Gurney to confirm he had not been involved in the Bitcoin interaction.

On Friday afternoon, there were several Facebook accounts under both Rezrazi’s and Ramsay’s names using a profile picture of the couple with their cheque. Some accounts said they were helping families struggling financially.

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The same post appeared on multiple accounts, saying they had always envisioned themselves holding their lottery cheque “for so many thousands of dollars” and that they would “keep on sharing the love through giving.”

Scams involving lottery winners happen from time to time, said Shelley Wong, BCLC spokesperson. Wong couldn’t say how common the scams are or whether they’re increasing in frequency, because the corporation doesn’t track it.

“We do let our winners know there might be a chance of this happening. Of course, this is kind of what happens when your name is out there and people are trying to take advantage of people, unfortunately,” Wong said.

BCLC encourages winners to contact the corporation if they see any sites online impersonating them and to report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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