Warnings over Lottery Scams
Last Updated: Friday 3rd July 2015, 10:58 am
Players are attracted to lotteries because they dream of winning big and spending their lives living in luxury on the proceeds. However, where there are large amounts of money involved, such as tomorrow night’s £4 million Lotto jackpot, there are criminals waiting to take advantage. In recent weeks police forces and Trading Standards officers have issued warnings to residents in Essex, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria about scam lottery letters arriving on doorsteps in their areas.
An alert was raised by 87 year-old Muriel Bates of Bradford this week after she received a letter informing her that she had won £825,000 on a lottery drawn in Madrid. It asked for a handling fee before the funds could be released, a sure sign that it is not a legitimate communication.
Thankfully Mrs. Bates recognised it as a fraudulent communication and passed it on to West Yorkshire Trading Standards who thanked her for bringing it to their attention, with a spokesperson confirming that anyone who responded would be sorely disappointed and out of pocket, “once paid, you will not hear from them again, or they will ask for further fees to process the claim which does not exist.”
The golden rule for spotting a scam is that it is simply not possible to win a lottery that you have not entered. Any letter, email or phone call you receive should be reported to the relevant authorities immediately. Genuine lotteries will not ask for processing fees or payments of taxes in advance of collecting your prize - UK lottery prizes aren’t actually taxed at all!
Take a look at the Lottery Scams page, where you can find out more telltale signs that a criminal is trying to get hold of your cash, the types of scams that fraudsters may attempt and the places you can turn for help if you think you may have fallen victim to one of these con tricks.
If you play Lotto or EuroMillions online, you will receive an email informing you that you have won a prize, but you will have to log in to your account to discover how much it is worth and to begin the claims process.