Uk national lottery scam
Latest: I’ve had multiple independent reports that suggest the scammers are starting to use snail mail (Post Office mail) to target potential victims in a very similar manner to their lottery e-mail scams. The same advice applies – bin any letters you receive, ignore them and do not reply to them.
Firstly, the scammer has to construct a reasonably convincing-sounding “you’ve won the lottery” e-mail, so they’re now tending to throw in verifiable correct facts in there to make it sound legitimate. The three most common things they put in are:
The draw number, date, winning numbers and jackpot amount of a recent UK lottery draw. Note that it won’t always be the latest one – quite often, it’s a few weeks old. Why would they take so long to e-mail you that you’ve won such a huge prize? Answer: they’re scammers and are probably a few weeks behind sending out bulk e-mails to potential victims with info from previous draws to catch up to the most recent one.
The name and/or address of something legitimate that’s lottery related. Favourites include Camelot’s full postal address (both the Olympia Way one in London and the P.O. Box one in Watford have been used) and, quite irritatingly, my name (Richard K. Lloyd), which people Google for and hence I get a constant stream of people asking if the scam e-mail they received is legitimate or not (and if you think about it, why ask me – what credentials do I have to verify such e-mails ?!).
Of course, they then blow this to smithereens by using a free Webmail-based e-mail account (e.g. yahoo.co.uk, hotmail.com and so on) to send their scam e-mail from – do you really think Camelot (who run the UK lottery) would ever send e-mail to end-users from a Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail account? Nope, they never would and this should be enough to stop you dead in your tracks and delete the scam e-mail.
It should be noted here that the only legal place to buy UK lottery tickets (and, yes, you have to buy them – there is no such thing as a “free UK lottery sweepstake” in existence) on the Internet is at the official UK lottery site located at http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/ and even then you need a UK address and a UK debit card. Any other site that says it sells UK lottery tickets is breaking the law. If you have not bought your ticket from either an official UK lottery physical terminal (e.g. in a UK newsagent, UK supermarket etc.) or from the official site mentioned above, then you *cannot* win a UK lottery prize.
Note that even Camelot themselves have now stopped e-mailing people who won via an online ticket (and not a moment too soon – you now have to log into the official Web site to discover you’ve won, which is as it should be). Hence, any person/organisation sending you e-mail saying you’ve won a (usually large) prize on the UK lottery is lying, it’s as simple as that.
The first e-mail you will receive will usually avoid mentioning any “processing/claim/courier fee” that you’ll have pay to them – this is to try to hook you in to the scam and not scare you off right away. Instead, the scammer will ask for as much personal information as possible (full name, address, date of birth etc.) – this is useful for them if you get so deep into the scam that they might want to try forging documents with your info on them. Don’t give them any info (you deleted that e-mail anyway didn’t you ?).
The scammer will often say “don’t tell anyone about this win” (by “anyone”, they probably mean the police, so that they won’t be tracked down and prosecuted !), which is a very silly instruction for them give if you think about it. Who are they to say who you can and can’t tell that you’ve “won” the lottery ?
If you are foolish enough to have started up a phone or e-mail conversation with the scammers, they will inevitably try to get a “claim fee” from you to process the lottery win. Let me see – you’ve “won” a lottery you never entered in the first place and now you’re expected to pay possibly thousands of pounds to someone you’ve never heard of to get hold of “winnings” that they provide no proof whatsoever even exists ?! If you haven’t twigged it’s a scam at this point, you’re quite a naive person to say the least.
Sadly, if you have fallen for the scam and actually sent them money, then you probably have no chance of recovering the money you sent, especially if it’s to a different country (that fact that someone outside the UK would be involved in a UK lottery really should have set alarm bells ringing). If it’s within your own country, perhaps contacting the police might be a start or possibly the standards trading officers for the county involved, but I don’t hold out much hope of ever getting your money back.
Some more reading on this subject to further enlighten you:
The official Camelot site’s Security Advice
Months after I put this page up warning about scams, Camelot finally did something similar. Because of their tardiness (especially poor since scam e-mails often mention the official site and Camelot’s postal address!), I’ve been fielding way too many “I’d like to claim my prize” e-mails, which hopefully will now go to the official site Webmaster and not me (update: nope, still getting a stream of queries about scam e-mails, ho hum).
The UK Government’s list of scam types
Basically says the same thing as this page (don’t communicate with them and delete any messages from them).
BBC News: How not to win a million
Interesting article, including some bloke from the Midlands who was conned out of almost 20,000 Euros.
The Dutch Lottery Scam
This page is handy because it gives you some useful advice on how to report advance fee frauds.
Fraudwatch International’s lottery scams section
A shockingly high number of lottery fraudsters out there!
Please note – although scammers have used my name in their fraudulent e-mails, I am NOT involved in any way with any of these scams. Having read this page, I hope you realise that I don’t need to be e-mailed about these scams – if they use my name and claim you’ve won the lottery, they are fraudulent and should be ignored. I did get one very funny UK lottery scam e-mail though which I think is worth sharing with you , but sadly, it was the exception to the rule.Uk national lottery scam Latest: I’ve had multiple independent reports that suggest the scammers are starting to use snail mail (Post Office mail) to target potential victims in a very similar
Lottery games both in the UK and across the world have strict rules in place to ensure that they are fair and fun to play. However, there are many people out there who try and use the allure of money to set up lottery scams to divert people away from legitimate games. These fraudsters take advantage of unwitting victims who are blinded by promises of receiving a life-changing amount of cash.
The scams generally rely on persuading the recipient of a bogus email, text, letter or phone call that they have won a huge amount of cash in a lottery, which will then be transferred into their bank account on payment of вЂprocessing feesвЂ™ or вЂtaxesвЂ™. These amounts are kept by the scammers, who often request further payments, stringing the victim along. Often the fraudster asks for personal information which will then be used for the purposes of identity theft.
Responding to just one of these communications can open the door to a flood of unwanted letters, phone calls and emails trying to separate you from your money. Read this page to learn more about protecting yourself against lottery scams.
Avoiding a Lottery Scam
- If you havenвЂ™t entered a lottery, raffle, sweepstake or other competition, then you cannot win it!
- To win Lotto, EuroMillions, PeopleвЂ™s Postcode Lottery, The Health Lottery or any other lottery game, you must have bought a ticket for the correct draw date and you must match the winning numbers exactly on your ticket.
- No legitimate lottery will randomly select email addresses or mobile phone numbers to win prizes.
- Legitimate lotteries will not approach you asking you to claim a prize. You may receive an email advising you of a win and instructing you to check your online account, but it is for you to approach the lottery company in order to claim any prize that you are due.
- Legitimate lotteries will not ask for any fee or upfront payment of taxes in order to process your claim.
Clues to Identify a Scam
There are plenty of signs by which you can work out whether the lottery communication you have received is fake. Your letter, email, text or phone call may have all or some of these indicators:
- Often the message will claim to be from a legitimate company, but the email address used bears no resemblance to that company name. For instance, it may be sent from a free webmail address like Hotmail.com or Gmail.com.
- If you receive a phone call, check the number вЂ“ if it begins with +4470, it is a Personal Redirect Number, which can be used from anywhere in the world. No legitimate lottery would use this sort of phone number.
- It may not refer to you by name, but rather as вЂњDear WinnerвЂќ or something similar but still suitably vague.
- Scam letters are sometimes printed on poor quality paper, often with a photocopied letterhead. Occasionally they give the address of a legitimate business to try and trick you into believing that the win is real.
- They will often include a strict time limit on claiming the prize, as well as a confidentiality clause, in an effort to pressure the potential victim into parting with their money or bank details. It means that the recipient of the scam has less time to properly investigate the communication or seek advice.
- Scam communications often have poor grammar and spelling mistakes.
What to Do if You Receive a Scam
If you receive any form of communication informing you of a win on a lottery that you havenвЂ™t entered, then it is recommended that you:
- Do not send any money.
- Do not reply to the message, as it will only encourage the scammers to send you more emails, letters and phone calls. If you have already responded, then cut off all contact straight away.
- If you received an email, do not open any attachments or files that came with it, as they could contain malware or a virus.
- Do not disclose your private bank or personal details. If you have already provided this information, then notify your bank or building society immediately.
- Contact Action Fraud either through their website (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or on 0300 123 2040 for advice on what to do next.
Methods of Scamming
These are the most common types of lottery scams. You may be initially contacted through one of these means:
- Post: You receive a letter telling you that you have won a prize, but that you need to pay a fee to process your claim before any winnings can be paid out.
- Email: Similar to the postal scam, but emails from scammers can also link back to fraudulent copies of official websites in order to seem legitimate.
- Phone: You receive a call informing you of a lottery win and, during the call, the вЂlottery officialвЂ™ will attempt to take advantage of your shock in order to obtain your bank details.
- Social Media: You receive a direct message telling you that your account has been selected for a lottery or raffle prize. You will then be asked to forward your financial details.
- Mobile: You receive an SMS informing you that your mobile phone number has been selected at random from a lottery to win a prize.
No matter how they get in touch with you, never give your personal and financial information over to a suspected lottery scammer. No legitimate, regulated lottery will ask you to pay a fee for your winnings. Just hang up, throw out the letters and delete the emails and messages.
Types of Scam
- Second Chance Lottery: You may be contacted by a scammer claiming to act on behalf of Lotto or EuroMillions and offering you a вЂsecond chanceвЂ™ to win a prize that has not been claimed. UK lottery games do not offer this type of draw, as any prizes left unclaimed after 180 days are then distributed to good causes.
- Lottery Winner Trusts: These are scam communications which take the names of previous high-profile winners and claim to be donating funds on their behalf to those less fortunate. The idea is to obtain your bank details in order to make the вЂpaymentвЂ™. Well-known winners whose names have been used without their knowledge in such activity include ВЈ161 million EuroMillions winners Colin and Christine Weir from Largs in Scotland, Neil Trotter from Surrey who scooped ВЈ108 million and Northern Irish woman Margaret Loughrey, who genuinely did donate a portion of her ВЈ27 million winnings to those in need, but not through any scheme like the ones listed above.
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The content and operations of this website have not been approved or endorsed by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, the National Lottery Commission, SLE or People’s Postcode Lottery.Find out about some of the different types of lottery scams online. Learn how to avoid and identify scams and what you should do if you think you’ve received one. ]]>