UK citizens have already been targeted by unscrupulous con men claiming that they had won the Canadian and Spanish lotteries. Unfortunately, many people fell for the scam and lost thousands of pounds as they responded to more and more telephone calls demanding cash to cover costs before their 'winnings' could be released. The cash is sent but the winnings don't exist.
It appears that things are getting worse instead of better with the UK National Lotto and EuroMillions being targeted along with successful syndicates such as e-Lottery. Also, the scams seem to be getting ever more sophisticated with people being contacted not just via email and telephone calls (like 7956 874297)but by letter and text messaging as well.
These scams succeed because they are run by highly organized criminal gangs who are very professional. Both email and direct mail pieces are very convincing and telephone operators are very confident and reassuring. As always they target the most vulnerable, often the elderly. These people want 2 things:
So how does the lottery scam work?
They offer you something for nothing - such as:
you've won a major prize in a draw or a lottery (even though you haven't entered one)
They'll ask you to:
send money up front - an administration fee or tax, the list is endless but it's always a ruse to get you to give them money.
give them your bank, credit card or other personal details.
How to avoid becoming a lottery scam victim:
use your common sense! If you didn't enter a lottery ie buy a ticket up front, you can't possibly win it.
REMEMBER no legitimate lottery will ask you for any money in order for you to receive winnings.
If in doubt check with the official operators (all of them have warnings about this scam on their sites.
If you have received an email, text, letter or phone call that you believe to be bogus, delete it, throw it away or put the phone down. DO NOT reply in any shape or form. This will only confirm your details and leave you open to further targeting and harrassment. DO NOT be tempted to bank any monies that may have be sent as upfront payment. You will be liable.
NEVER reveal any personal, bank or credit card details.
DO seek advice from family, friends and other professionals.
Call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06
Lottery scam warning signs include:
The use of hard to trace contact details such as free email addresses (yahoo, hotmail etc) and PO Box numbers.
the approach, whether in writing, by phone, email or text, is unsolicited
A very short time frame in which to respond to claim winnings.
A request for a 'processing' or 'administration' fee to obtain the winnings.
A request for personal, credit card or bank account details.
They ask you not to tell anyone about the deal.
Always remember that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. However, despite the publicity surrounding the lottery scam it doesn't seem to be going away.