New Health Lottery Scam Spreads: How To Stay Safe
Last Updated: Thursday 17th October 2019, 13:43
A new Health Lottery scam is targeting residents across the UK, as fraudsters try to pass themselves off as official lottery representatives. It is the latest in a long line of lottery scams, but there are several golden rules you can remember to help protect yourself.
What Does the Health Lottery Scam Say?
Many lottery scams take the same form and the bogus Health Lottery letter currently in circulation is no exception. It begins by telling the recipient that they are the winner of a large prize - such as £325,000.
If you receive this scam, it will say that you have been selected at random - based on a computer ballot from the ‘database of the National Health Service and residents in the United Kingdom’. It will offer congratulations and advise that you must claim your money soon. A contact name and number will also be given for you to start the claims process.
The scammer’s intention is to mislead you into thinking you are a genuine winner, and then when you call the contact number they will look to extract either personal or financial information from you. There is no prize, of course, and you run the risk of losing money the more contact you have with them.
The scam has been reported across the UK, including in Warwickshire and the Isle of Wight, and local police officials and community spokespeople have urged residents to be vigilant. The Health Lottery is also aware of the scam and has alerted Action Fraud in an effort to stop it in its tracks.
How To Spot Scams
Scams work by trying to look as authentic as possible; they will normally pretend to represent a real lottery such as the Health Lottery or EuroMillions and will perhaps use some technical, complicated or official-sounding language. When they also say that you have won a substantial sum of money, it can be easy to get carried away and believe the news is genuine.
However, you should always remember that you can never win a prize unless you have bought a ticket. Legitimate lotteries do not select winners at random and will certainly never request that you pay a fee or tax before you can receive any money.
If you have bought a ticket for a game that is mentioned in a suspicious letter or email, remember that you must have matched the winning numbers or raffle code. You can check your ticket against the official lottery results to see if you are a real winner.
If you do win a genuine prize, make sure you know the correct process for how to claim your money. For UK National Lottery games, and the Health Lottery, you have 180 days to come forward from the date of the draw. Scammers often make up a deadline that is much sooner to try and pressure you into rushing and not thinking it through.
Unfortunately, lottery scams have become increasingly widespread and there are various different types, with some using direct mail, social media or emails. There are different levels of sophistication among the scammers and they may not simply say you have won a prize. They may pretend to be a previous winner who wants to share their money or a company that wants to sell you cheap tickets.
However, there will always be clues to the fact that it is a scam, whether it is poor spelling and grammar, an email address that comes from a free account such as @gmail.com rather than an official one, or the fact that it addresses you as ‘Dear Winner’ rather than using your name. Visit the Scams page to learn more about how these types of fraud work and where you can find help.
How Does The Health Lottery Work?
The Health Lottery does not pick winners from a database of the National Health Service as the latest scam suggests. It is a game which involves you buying tickets, either online or from retailers, and picking numbers.
You must select five numbers from 1 to 50, with draws taking place every day of the week from Tuesday to Saturday. To win the jackpot, which is worth a minimum of £25,000, you must match all five of the winning numbers.
You are also entered into the monthly Mega Raffle every time you play the Health Lottery. You receive one raffle code for each line of numbers you play, and if your code is drawn as the winner at the start of the next month you receive £250,000.
The Health Lottery was set up to raise money for health-related good causes, with 20 percent of the cost of every ticket going to different projects. It represents 51 society lotteries and a different area benefits each week.
Check the latest Health Lottery Results after every draw to see if you are a winner, and remember that you can’t pick up a prize if you haven’t played.