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Finance

‘Organised crime groups’ use lottery scams that ‘look genuine’ – be very careful


Criminals still use old school letter scams to entice people into sending money for fictitious prize draws or lotteries people haven’t won.

Often operating as organised crime groups, they take great care making sure their mailings look genuine.

This includes personalising the mail using the recipient’s name throughout – and incorporating images such as mocked-up certificates and cheques.

They will also try to dupe victims by mimicking genuine reputable organisations.

A seal or crest alongside fonts that are typically used by official financial institutions/bodies are included to give the impression they are genuine.

Please email personal.finance@reachplc.com and include the word “scam watch” in the subject line. Unfortunately, we can’t respond to every email.

READ MORE: Ukraine crisis shock: Disgusting scammers set up fake charities to cash in – watch out

Words like “guaranteed” or “100 percent genuine” and precise amounts of money are often included – all signed off by a fictitious official with a senior ranking title and reference numbers that suggest the lottery is legitimate.

People will then be asked to pay a ‘small fee’ for administration purposes before they can claim their prize.

Many of us have and will struggle financially, especially now due to the current climate.

Criminals won’t hesitate to prey on our struggles or emotions by sending us fake stories of hope. We need to be extra vigilant. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Scambusters Mail bag – answering your scam questions

Q1. How can I protect myself or a relative from these scams?

Scambusters say:

STOP. Take Five before you respond. Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

CHALLENGE. Ask yourself, could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

PROTECT. If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately and report the scam to Action Fraud or the Scottish Police in Scotland.

Consider who sent the letter, search the names on it on the internet as this will usually give you more information and confirmation it’s a scam.

If someone is asking you for money up front to receive a prize, it’s usually a scam. Report these sort of letters to Action Fraud.

Tip of the week

To learn more and to join the fight against scams do the free training on www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.

The more we talk about scams the more we take away the shame.

STOP others being a cybercrime victim by reporting scams and suspicious emails.

Forward the scam email to report@phishing.gov.uk. Use Rightly to stop fraudsters sharing your data exposing you to scams.



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