TORONTO -- It was a phone call that came out of the blue. An Ontario man was told he had won $3.5 million in a lottery he never entered.

"They said congratulations and that I was one of the grand winners in the mega millions dot com," Ajax man Clayton Willett told CTV News Toronto.

Willett, a senior citizen, was told to collect his prize he would have to first buy a $200 gift card to get the process started. 

After he did that he was told he would need to send more money to cover taxes, customs fees and other expenses.

"They said (the prize) was three-and-half million dollars. Two and a half million would be a certified cheque, a million dollars would be delivered by U.S. marshals and they were going to deliver a 2021 Chrysler 300," said Willett. "I was ecstatic."


Willett said in total he handed over more than $18,000 before his family and friends convinced him it was a scam. 

"They told me if I was to pay $3,000 they could have the car delivered here and the U.S. marshals would bring the money. Then when that was done, I had to come up with another $6,000. All-in-all I have invested $18,130," Willett said.

Willett says while he is embarrassed about falling for the scam, but wanted to share his story to prevent it from happening to anyone else.

Some lottery scam warning signs include being told you've won lottery you’ve never heard and you're asked to make upfront payments to collect tour prize. People may be told it’s for fees, taxes or duties and you’re asked to provide your banking information. 

"I'm out $18,130 but I just hope no one is as foolish as I am," Willett said. "I hope by doing this interview I can help someone from being caught up in this type of thing."

If you're contacted by letter, email or a phone call saying you've won a lottery you should never respond. 

If you do you could end up on a scammers list and be targeted by other types of fraud as well.