Lottery Frauds and How to Avoid Them

“Our Dear Winner, You have won the sum of £710,000 (SEVEN HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND, POUNDS STERLING) from British Lotto in our 2008 new year charity bonanza. The winning ticket was selected from a Data Base of Internet Email Users, from which your Address came out as the winning coupon.”

“We hereby urge you to claim the winning amount quickly as this is a monthly lottery. Failure to claim your win will result into the reversion of the fund to our following month.”

This is a sample from a lottery fraud, instances of which are becoming far too common. Over 70 000 victims have been recorded but there are probably many more too embarrassed to come forward. The fraudsters take advantage of the greed that is in all of us to dupe their victims into parting with their personal details and then a fee usually claimed to be an administration or postal fee. An elderly couple had to be persuaded by both bank officials and the police not to hand over £20 000 to one fraudster recently. Another gentleman did actually pay out £10 000.

The Office of Fair Trading in Britain uncovered fifteen call centres in Canada, which were operating a scam across the United Kingdom that had already netted a total of £1.6 million. The Canadian authorities are now attempting to clamp down on such operations. With the widespread availability of modern communications there are no barriers to fake lotteries and many come from Canada and Nigeria.

Hoaxes often come from those whose first language is not English so errors in language frequently appear in the written word and become apparent in telephone calls. Some appear in the example at the start of this article. Find these and you will know a fraud is likely.

There are other points to remember to avoid hoaxes:

1. To win a lottery you have to have to enter a lottery. To enter a lottery you will have bought a ticket or at the very least joined a syndicate. You will know you are in a lottery and will have paid to be in it.

2. Winners are not contacted by lottery organisations. Players in the UK lottery draw who believe they have won take their ticket to the retailer to lodge their claim. As a member of a syndicate, the syndicate organiser will contact you. But then, there are plenty of places where the results are posted so you would already know.

3. No fee is ever requested before the winnings are paid.

4. Holding the ticket is enough. No identification is required.

5. Check the originator of the email, telephone call, or letter. But never use the details they give. The British National Lottery has an excellent website to reference.


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