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PSNI warns public over fake World Cup lottery scam letter

By Deborah McAleese

Published 19/08/2016

Fraudsters are targeting unsuspecting members of the public in a fake Fifa World Cup online lottery, police have warned
Fraudsters are targeting unsuspecting members of the public in a fake Fifa World Cup online lottery, police have warned

Fraudsters are targeting unsuspecting members of the public in a fake Fifa World Cup online lottery, police have warned.

Official-looking letters headed "International Fifa World Cup Online Lottery" have been sent out from an organisation claiming to have a headquarters in Melbourne, Australia.

Criminals are attempting to swindle thousands of pounds out of victims by telling them they have won a £900,000 prize and demanding a "processing fee" to claim it.

Police issued an alert after becoming aware that one of the letters had been received in Craigavon recently.

"There is no money, this is just scammers sitting somewhere in the world, thinking of the next scheme to con you out of money," a spokesman said.

"These letters are not new and have featured before, but they have surfaced again. This one was received in Craigavon, tomorrow could be your letterbox."

The police warned that older people may be caught out by the cruel scam.

"I know most of us look at these and throw them straight in the bin, but please consider those who may be caught out, particularly the older generation," the spokesman said.

"So I guess you will have to keep working on, at least until the real six numbers come good."

A London telephone number is provided in the letter to contact in order to claim the winnings.

The PSNI warned that while legitimate companies use virtual numbers, such as a London landline or an 0845 number, to give their business a professional look, scammers use them too.

"People get fooled thinking, 'This must be official', but in reality the call can be routed anywhere in the world to a pay-as-you-go phone," the PSNI added.

Police issued a warning about a similar World Cup lottery scam in April.

Recipients of the scam letter, or any other suspected fraud, have been advised to report it to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre.

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