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Donít take the gamble with lottery fraud

South Gloucestershire Trading Standards - 22nd September 2015

South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards would like to remind residents to stay vigilant when receiving letters indicating they have won a lottery, whether it is from the UK or abroad.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is warning people about two new Lottery Fraud letters and emails using the 2016 Rio Olympics as a theme.

The scams try to trick people into believing they have won hundreds of thousands of pounds or a trip to Brazil to watch the Olympics or the Rio Carnival. The letters and emails go on to ask the recipient for a fee to process their winnings.

Another fake lottery recently reported to Trading Standards is one purporting to be the Peopleís Postcode Lottery. Every letter says the recipient has won £825,000 and asks for an upfront fee of hundreds of pounds to process their winnings.

The advice being offered to protect yourself from lottery fraud is:

  • Never respond to any such communication. If you have not entered a lottery then you cannot have won it.
  • Official lotteries in other countries operate in much the same way as the UKís National Lotto.
  • Official lotteries are unlikely to contact people to tell them of their win.
  • Lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings are a good indication that it is not a genuine competition.
  • Never disclose your bank details or pay fees in advance.
  • Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity. If they ask you to keep your win a secret, it is likely to be a fraud.
  • Many fraudulent lotteries have bad spelling and grammar Ė see this as a warning that fraudsters are at work.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

For advice on this or any other consumer matter, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 (Mon-Fri, 9am Ė 5pm).