Police warning against Lottery Scams

“If you haven’t entered a lottery or a prize draw you can’t have won it!”
That’s the warning from Humberside Police fraud officers following reports of the re-emergence of a lottery scam in the area.
The team has received reports of East Riding residents receiving letters in which it is claimed they have won thousands of pounds in the People’s Postcode Lottery.
However, the letters are in fact written by scam artists who aim to con the recipients into handing over ‘taxes’ or ‘legal fees’ and official documents in order for the fictitious prize to be released.
In some cases the fraudsters will ask for bank details, on the pretence of needing them to wire the money to the victim, and instead clear out their account.
Ds Michael Wood of the major crime team said a good rule of thumb was if it seems too good to be true it usually is.
He added: “You can be sure there will be no prize money for you to win.
“If you respond you will be asked to supply personal information and copies of documents, such as your passport, which they claim will be used to prove your identity.
“The fraudsters will then use this information to steal your identity.
“If you hand over money for ‘fees’ or ‘taxes’ the fraudsters will come up with another reason for you to pay further funds in order for the prize to be released – and why these costs can’t just be taken out of your winnings.”
Ds Wood also had top tips for spotting a fraudulent letter and what to do if you receive one:
•    If you haven’t entered a lottery you can’t have won it.
•    There are no known official lottery companies who contact people to let them know of their win and instead rely on players checking their ticket against the result of a draw.
•    No known official lottery operators will ask for fees in order to release winnings. If you are asked to pay up front it’s likely it’s a scam.
•    Where email addresses are provided to respond to, be very suspicious of generic addresses that end @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com – or starting with 07 – as these are free accounts.
•    If you are urged to keep your win to yourself this should arouse your suspicions. Most lotteries thrive on publicity.
•    Look at the standard of spelling and sentence construction. Phrases such as “Participants in this programme were randomly selected by computer from database of the Electoral roll resident in the United Kingdom, winners in different categories emerged by computer random selection from pool of over 12 million names” should ring alarm bells.
•    Never respond to communication of this kind.
•    Never disclose bank details or pay fees in advance
•    If you have responded, break off all contact immediately.
•    If you have provided account details, let your bank know straight away.
•    Be wary of other scams. Fraudsters will often share details of people they have successfully targeted – with a favourite scam being to pose as fraud recovery agents who ask for a fee in order to help recover lost money.
For more fraud prevention advice, and to report any suspected scams, visit the Action Fraud website.

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