RESIDENTS have been issued a stern warning from a Malvern man not to fall victim to a People’s Postcode Lottery scam after his mother-in-law was targeted.
Lee Harrison, of Malvern World Travel on Somers Park Avenue, told the Observer that after visiting his 87-year-old mother-in-law yesterday (Wednesday) he found out she had received a letter, dated December 1, appearing to be from the People’s Postcode Lottery which stated she had won £375,000.
The money was allegedly from a total cash prize of £45million which would be shared ‘among the first 200 lucky winners’.
A telephone number and apparent Government email address was put on the letter as a contact point but luckily for Mr Harrison, his mother-in-law had not got in touch with the fraudsters.
And now Mr Harrison has urged Malvern residents to be wary of false claims of winning money to prevent them from falling victim to such scams.
“My mother-in-law does not even take part in the People’s Post Code Lottery so I knew something was up,” he said.
“People can be easily drawn in to these kind of things.
“With the email address ending in ‘.gov’ it makes it look like it had been authorised by the Government when in fact it has not.
“Unfortunately so many people would phone or email through and possibly give out details they should not.
“The powers that be need to get down to the bottom of this and catching the people responsible.”
The letter (pictured with the recipient’s address removed) said winners had been ‘randomly selected by computer from database of the Electoral Register’.
It came printed with lottery ball numbers as well as a head office address and reference numbers to make it seem legitimate.
The letter added the winnings ‘must be claimed no later than December 30’ and that ‘your claims company will be paid five per cent of the award price as the commission AFTER you have received your money’.
Rachel Ruxton, a spokeswoman for the People’s Postcode Lottery, warned against the scam and stressed they would never ask for payment to claim a cash prize.
“The People’s Postcode Lottery is aware that sometimes illegitimate individuals and organisations will attempt to use our lottery’s brand to gain access to information or details supplied by unsuspecting members of the public,” she said.
“We take such matters very seriously.
“If you receive one of these letters, phone calls, SMS messages or emails, then we strongly advise the public to treat these communications as scams and they should be ignored.
“Legitimate lotteries, such as People’s Postcode Lottery, will not under any circumstances request a payment in order to receive your ‘winnings’.”
She added anybody suspicious of fraudulent activities should contact their customer service team on 0808 1098 765.
Scams can also be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.