An important message sent by Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime
A lottery scam takes place when criminals pretend that you have won a prize, often a lottery. The people most likely to fall victim to this tend to be over the age of 60 (although younger people do fall victim too) – but we know that it is often close family members of victims who spot the tell-tale signs of the fraud.
Criminals will normally get in touch by letter or email and will try to engage you into dialogue with them. Once they have convinced you that they are “genuine”, they will ask for a fee to be paid to release your winnings. This fee could be to pay taxes or duty, or for a solicitor, banker or judge to authorise the transaction. NO GENUINE LOTTERY WILL EVER ASK FOR ANY SORT OF FEE TO BE PAID.
Often this first fee will be small, but once they know you are willing to pay it they will ask for more and more money, with ever-changing excuses as to why they need it. Victims can end up losing tens of thousands of pounds over the course of months or even years.
Many of you reading will be surprised that this type of crime takes place. After all, why would anyone fall prey to scam like this when they never entered any such lottery in the first place? Why would they have to pay money when they are supposed to have won millions of pounds? The sad truth is that these criminals are incredibly persuasive and prey on people who are very trusting. Therefore, even if you know that you would not get defrauded like this, please spread this message widely to friends, family and to people within your community.
- If you have not entered a lottery or a prize draw, you have not won it.
- Delete any emails which detail you winning money or being in a position to make a fortune
- Spread the message amongst people you come into contact with, especially older people in your family, and look out for any unusual behaviour, for instance someone paying money via money service bureaux, like Western Union or MoneyGram, or buying Ukash vouchers.