Angus Council’s trading standards service is warning residents to beware of scam letters saying they have won a large sum of money.
The mailings make false claims about links with genuine official international lotteries and about being involved in the promotion of the Commonwealth Games and the FIFA World Cup
The letters suggest that names have been ‘specially selected’ or are ‘attached to a winning ticket’ worth £900,000 or more. Recipients are asked to post off a claim form or to contact a ‘claims agent’ by phone or fax to begin the process of claiming the money. Residents who make contact with the fraudsters will be asked to part with money as an up-front payment, or forward money to enable them to process the payment of a prize that does not exist. Personal information can also be used by fraudsters to commit identify fraud.
Residents should never respond to any communication - if you haven’t entered a lottery then you can’t have won it. Any request for a fee payment is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you as there are no official lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings. Never disclose bank details or pay fees in advance. If they ask you to keep your win a secret it’s likely to be a fraud. Many fraudulent lotteries have bad spelling and grammar –this is a warning that fraudsters are at work. If you are a victim of lottery fraud you should report to Action Fraud specialists by calling 0300 123 2040. If you have responded to a letter, email or ‘phone call then you must break off all contact with the fraudsters at once. If you have given over your bank account details, alert your bank immediately. Be aware that you’re now likely to be a target for other frauds. Fraudsters often share details about people they have successfully targeted using different identities to commit further frauds.