For some time now we at UKLotteryDraw.com have been warning of the large number of scams purporting to be from lottery administrators announcing that the recipient has won a large prize. Scammers email, phone, text or mail to say that the money can be made available if the victim either provides their personal details or sends an amount of money as an ‘administration fee’ (or some other plausible reason).
The KDSK programme, 5 On Your Side, described such scams in the St. Louis, Missouri area on their website, KDSK.com. Scammers are to be found operating from a wide variety of countries, including Canada and Nigeria, but the threat to Americans seems to be largely from Jamaica, for some reason (read our article on the Jamaican fraudsters).
The sad truth is that many innocent people are losing their life savings to these people, who are netting millions of pounds or dollars every year. Police forces in the originating countries are moving in to crack down on this crime but the industry is still booming nonetheless.
The only real way to combat this dreadful crime is to educate potential victims so they do not respond to such approaches.
No matter where the source of the scammers email (or whatever media they use), the rules are always the same:
1. To be in a lottery, you must have first bought a ticket or joined a syndicate. No lottery will operate without participants buying tickets; if you have not paid for your entry, you are not going to win a prize.
2. Lottery administrators NEVER send you any sort of notification of your winning a prize. It is always up to you to claim your prize by approaching them.
3. Never, ever provide personal details or send money to anyone who approaches you unexpectedly. A scammers email or letter can look very official and texts and telephone calls can be very persuasive but do not respond.
Do not even click on links within the email as they can download viruses or other malware to your computer. Equally, do not press any button on your phone if prompted by a telephone caller or message: in such a situation you may well be passed through to a premium rate number, for which you will pay.
4. If any other evidence is needed, a scammers email or letter will use strange language that indicates that English is not the user’s first language. If anything rings alarm bells, go with your gut feeling and back away.
5. The best response is to do nothing at all. Delete the fraudsters email, destroy the letter, put down the telephone, or delete the text. You cannot be caught out if you refuse to play along. Your local police force might be interested however so you might consider taking the letter, copy of the email, the text or details of the telephone call to them.
The old adage ‘if it seems to good to be true, it probably is not true’ is very appropriate.
Please do not encourage these criminals.
To find out more about UK lottery draw scams, visit the National Lottery website. The ActionFraud website is also useful.