May 26 2013 Latest news:
Sarah Ingrams, Reporter
Friday, August 3, 2012
A lottery scam targeting elderly people who have recently been on holiday is rife in Hackney and police are warning people to be on their guard.
Around ten per cent of older people in Hackney are victims, police believe.
Det Const Charlie Teggart, of Stoke Newington police station, explained that people are encouraged to fill in forms, often lotteries or sweepstakes, whilst on holiday.
Then, around a year later, they get a phone call or letter saying they have won the lottery and are asked to pay money in order to claim their prize.
Fraudsters have demanded up to £10,000, claiming the victim must pay foreign taxes, insurance, the FBI, immigration charges or even protection money.
Their winnings never materialise.
He said one woman sent her life savings of £10,000 to fraudsters over the course of a year. She kept all her receipts and was able to get her money back but usually the money is impossible to trace.
“It’s a con. There is no money. There is no prize,” said Det Const Teggart.
“If you have genuinely won the lottery then you don’t have to pay a thing. It doesn’t matter what country you entered in, you don’t have to pay. Normally they would give you an advance on your winnings and they would also want to see the winning ticket.”
He is urging people not to fill in the forms whilst on holiday and to remember never to give out personal or bank details over the phone.
“You just don’t expect people to rip you off,” he added. “It’s really sad and I want to put the message out there to say don’t trust these people.”
If you believe you are a victim of fraud, report it to community safety officers on 101. To stop junk mail, contact the post office. To stop cold calling, contact your operator.