OFT posts lottery scam warning


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May 24, 2005
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OFT posts lottery scam warning

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today warned consumers not to fall for lottery and prize draw scams, which cost victims around £320m every year.
The watchdog said hundreds of thousands of false letters, emails and telephone calls reach consumers every day claiming they have won a major cash prize.

To claim the "prize", the target of the scam must send money upfront to cover so-called administration charges, processing fees or taxes. In fact, there is either no cash prize to be had, or the chances of winning anything are extremely small.

According to the OFT, around 500,000 people fall for such scams each year, collectively losing around £320m.
The OFT has sent its own fake prize draw scam to households in the Midlands, the south-east, the north-east and Wales to raise awareness of the problem. The mailing emphasises the fact that a genuine prize draw or lottery would not ask winners to pay a fee before they can win a prize.

Christine Wade, OFT assistant chief executive, consumer advice and trading standards, said: "We hope our innovative approach will help educate consumers about these sophisticated scams."

Sandra Haurant
Monday February 19, 2007
Guardian Unlimited
© Guardian News and Media Limited 2007