A CUPAR woman is warning others to be on their guard after receiving a ‘convincing’ letter telling her she’d won £900,000 in an online lottery.
Eagle-eyed Karen Morrison, of Scotstarvit View, spotted the tell-tale signs that the letter was a scam – but was so concerned that others could be duped that she reported it to the police.
“I was told to ignore it and put it in the blue bin,” she told the Fife Herald.
“But I wanted to alert others first, as the letter is quite authentic-looking and even includes a bona-fide address in Canary Wharf.
“You’re not even asked for your bank details, just whether you’d like the winnings to be sent by cheque or by online bank transfer.
“I imagine this is an attempt to lull people into a false sense of security.”
Recipients are told they’ve won the cash in the Spanish Euromillion FIFA World Cup Online Lottery and asked to fax a form back to a company called Northwest Financial Consultants, in London’s Canary Wharf.
The address houses a legitimate business, with no connection to the bogus lottery.
A warning about the scam was issued last August by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
The NFIB first became aware of it after people without access to e-mail or fax, or who misunderstood the instructions, posted their claims forms back – inadvertently preventing their details being disclosed to the fraudsters.
As the number of letters arriving increased, security at Canary Wharf and other locations used by the fraudsters became suspicious and notified the police.
The NFIB has since suspended the phone lines, only for the scammers to quickly re-emerge under the guise of an alternative company name.
To date, analysts have identified what appears to be four separate scams, where people are receiving individually-addressed letters saying they have won either the Microsoft, FIFA Euro 2012 or Euro Millions lotteries.
Recipients of the letters are informed they need to complete a claims form to indicate whether they want to receive their winnings by cheque or bank transfer, which must then be either e-mailed or faxed back to the companies.
In each case, victims are not being asked for any fee.
But instead, their credentials – including bank details - which could be used to commit another crime.
Said DC Alex Eristavi, of the NFIB: “On this occasion, it appears that fraudsters are preying on people’s hopes and dreams to secure personal information now, and money later.”