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Don’t 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 People’s 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 UK’s 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 – 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 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 – 5pm).

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