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Warning over World Cup football lottery scam

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
A rise in World Cup lottery scams is expected over the next month, according to National Trading Standards (NTS).

The NTS said it expects to see an increase in scams connected to the football tournament including lotteries that claim to be affiliated with the event.

These schemes usually have official logos and ask recipients to pay money in order to win a “huge” cash prize.

The NTS says it has seen a rise in similar scams during past big football tournaments.

It has launched its annual “Scamnesty”, running until 23 December, which asks people to send in examples of postal scams they see. They are then analysed by the NTS scam team so they can build intelligence about the criminals creating them.

This year it has already returned more than £65,000 to victims who had paid money to criminals and trading standards officers have saved victims more than £950,000 through interventions via home visits.

By disrupting the work of the phone and mail scam criminals it says it has saved the taxpayer nearly £23 million overall.

Elderly and vulnerable people more at risk

In 2022, the NTS says more than 80% of scams it’s received are related to clairvoyance where people are asked to send in money in return for detailed readings.

It was in 2020 when the NTS first discovered inheritance scams sent by post. These work by false overseas lawyers enticing victims to share their details or money in return for a share of a non-existent fortune.

These postal scams are created with one goal, to trick victims into parting with their cash. The average amount requested, usually in cash, is £48. Yet those who respond to these scams can lose much more.

Elderly and vulnerable people are more likely to receive scam postal mail. The NTS is also encouraging people to talk about potential scams and it urges professional carers to check in with their clients help them identify scam mail and forward it to the NTS.

It’s free to send any scam mail to the NTS at the following address: NTSST, FREEPOST, MAIL MARSHALS.

“Truly devastating” impact on victims

Lord Michael Bichard, chair of National Trading Standards, said: “The impact on victims who get lured into responding to scam mail is truly devastating.

“Once they send money to one, more and more mailings land on the doorstep and a terrifying cycle can begin, leading not only to crippling financial loss, but declining physical and mental health.

“This crime can destroy families as repeat victims often isolate themselves from those trying to help. Please send in your scam mail so we can protect your loved ones, and stop the harm these criminals cause.”

How to spot scam mail

Criminals are forever finding ways to create new scams and they are often very hard to spot. Here are some of the most common tricks used by fraudsters:

  • Personalising mail using the recipient’s name as well as on images such as certificates and cheques
  • Artwork that purports to be genuine, for instance the use of a seal or crest and fonts that suggest they come from a financial institution or official body
  • Words like “guaranteed” or “100% genuine” as well as precise amounts of money
  • Signatures from officials with senior ranking titles and identification numbers
  • A sense of urgency, such as “reply within seven days” or “before the deadline”

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