With the dream of landing a Lotto jackpot so close to our hearts, it isn't surprising that unscrupulous con men are doing their best to cash in on that dream illegally. Over the past few years a number of trusting individuals have had their life savings scammed out of them by people posing as lottery officials.
Lottery scams differ from scam to scam however the aim of them all is to obtain personal information and bank details from you to either steal from your bank or commit fraud using your personal information. In the majority of cases, the potential victim is initially contacted saying that they have won a substantial lottery prize, or there name, number or email has been selected to win a prize. All the "winner" has to do is pay a release fee and the cash will be with them promptly. However, more recently scams have developed and some now act as previous large lottery winners who are contacting you to give you some of their winnings.
There are four different ways in which a scammer can contact you which are:
- Email – This is one of the most popular forms of lottery scams and it involves you receiving an email detailing that you have either won the lottery or that your email has been selected at random from a raffle as a winner. These scams try and look official as possible and can use official logos from a particular lottery to try and make you believe you have become a winner.
- Mobile – These types of scams are increasingly popular and consist of you receiving a text message detailing that you are a lottery winner. The text you say you have won a prize in a lottery or that your number has been selected at random to win a prize.
- Letter – This scams works by you receiving a letter again detailing that you are a winner. The letter can be written formally with correct logos and images to coax you into believing that you’re a winner.
- Telephone – Although not as popular as the other scams listed above they can still catch some people out. These scams work by scammers ringing you and congratulating you on your lottery win. They can act formal and say they are from a particular lottery however they are in fact just after your personal information.
Scam works because they target a such a wide audience and out of these it is normally the most vulnerable and trusting members of society that end up falling victim to these scams. As a result, innocent victims across the nation have handed substantial sums over to the scam operators in the belief that they would be putting an end to their money worries once and for all.
Victims to Scams
- An 80 year old Powys resident lost a total of £11,000 by putting her trust in two separate scam operators posing as officials from the Canadian and Spanish lotteries. The Spanish scam went so far as to forge the official El Gordo lottery in order to appear as convincing as possible.
- In Leeds, a retired couple were conned to the cost of £20,000 because they were informed that they had won a Euro Millions jackpot worth €650,000. As a result, they have now had to remortgage their home in order to pay off debts.
There are dozens more cases like these and despite police stepping up efforts to prevent them, new scams are springing up on a monthly basis using e-mails, the telephone, postal services and text messages to contact potential victims directly.
Our best advice to avoid getting scammed is to remember that no genuine lottery organisation will ever request a penny from you in order to release prize money. So, if you can't remember entering any lottery that you are told you have won, beware. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…
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