Joined: 10 Nov 2004, 15:39
|Posted: Wed 28 Jun 2006 14:14 Post subject: Consumers warned against lottery 'fake cheque' scam
|From the UK's Office of Fair Trading
99/06 19 June 2006
The OFT is warning consumers not to respond to a new type of lottery scam targeting the UK which uses counterfeit cheques to try and convince recipients that their promised win is genuine.
The mailing from the 'Australian Lottery Corporation' states that the recipient has won $750,000 but must first pay for taxes and insurance. Recipients are advised to call an agent for more information.
A $4,880 cheque personally made out to the recipient, and allegedly drawn on a reputable American bank, is also attached to the mailing as part of the alleged winnings to cover the 'necessary payments' the consumer needs to make. The cheque is in fact counterfeit but can take up to six weeks to work through the banking system. The consumer could be liable for any funds they spend while waiting for the cheque to clear.
Experience from similar scams suggests that victims could lose thousands of pounds if they send off money to claim their 'winnings'.
Christine Wade, OFT Director of Consumer Regulation Enforcement said:
'Lottery scams have been around for a number of years but the use of a counterfeit cheque is a worrying development. Scams are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and everyone needs to be on their guard.'
There are several warning signs consumers should be aware of if they receive a mailing or telephone call telling them they have won an international lottery:
- you can't win a lottery unless you have entered
- legitimate lotteries don't ask you to pay taxes, custom fees, insurance shipping or handling or any other fee before receiving your 'winnings'
- you will often be asked to send money upfront to the perpetrators by money transfer.