Trading standards warning over international lottery scam

Trading standards officers today warned residents about a scam letter trying to persuade people they have won an international lottery – but is actually trying to obtain their bank details.

The persuasive missive was sent to a resident in Aberdeen however they sensibly checked with Aberdeen City Council’s Trading Standards service which confirmed it was in fact a fraudulent scheme.

The letter asks for the ‘winner’ to keep the matter secret in order to avoid unwarranted abuse – this is actually to stop people from speaking to friends, family or advice organisations and thereby minimising getting proper advice or guidance.

Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards manager Graeme Paton said: “These types of letters tend to come around in cycles so it’s very likely other people in the city and across Scotland are getting these in the post.

There’s no such competition – as simple as that. This is just a way of harvesting bank account numbers and other personal details that you will be asked to provide – whether as part of the claim or for ‘security reasons’.

“You may also be asked for payments to cover costs such as taxes or clearance fees – no lottery, or other competition, should ask for payments other than your initial ticket purchase.

“You ‘need to be in it to win it’ – so winnings from a competition that you have not entered should ALWAYS be queried.”

The letter for this particular international postcode lottery scam contained several inaccuracies. It stated that ‘European lottery, Loteria, El Gordo and Commonwealth Bank of Australia and America’ have designed and promoted this program on behalf of the European union lottery. There is no European Lottery – there is the Euromillions game which is actually organised by Services Aux Loteries En Europe, based in Belgium. This is only played in participating countries and is not Europe wide. Similarly, there is no European Union Lottery.

There is no such bank as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and America – there is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and they have an office in America (New York) but that is as far as it goes.

In addition, toteria is the Spanish word for lottery. There are many loterias globally but none go by just the name of Loteria. El Gordo is the shortened name for the annual Christmas lottery held in Spain. Its full name is El Gordo de Navidad.

Anyone wanting advice or to report any suspicious letters or emails can contact Aberdeen Trading Standards officers on 03000 200 292, or tradingstandards@aberdeencity.gov.uk.