El Gordo Lottery Letter Is One ‘ell Of A Con Trick
15 Oct 2006
Lottery scammers are operating in the county and police are warning unsuspecting householders to beware.
A series of letters purporting to be from the Spanish lottery game El Gordo has arrived in Bedfordshire.
The latest was reported to police this week by a family from Begwary in north Bedfordshire.
The letter claims that the recipient is part of the international promotion of the lottery and has won $915,910.
All the person has to do is keep the award secret until further notice and make contact with a claims agent in Spain. Taking part will also entitle the lucky winner to entry into a bigger lottery to win more than $1 billion.
This is the first letter of a series in which unwitting recipients are drawn further and further into a scam which eventually will end up with them losing hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.
If the recipient replies to the first letter, a second letter is sent which tells the person that in order to claim their huge prize, they have to pay a government tax first, often a few hundred pounds, and send the ‘claims agent’ money.
They will then receive a third letter, explaining that the cash prize is still waiting for them, but they need to deposit more money for some other ‘official’ reason.
A police spokesman said: “Of course, the alleged lottery prize doesn’t exist at all and is merely a way for criminals to steal money from trusting individuals.
“In this case, none of the recipients have been drawn in, but detectives in Bedford have dealt with cases in the past where recipients have been persuaded to part with up to £70,000, lured with the promise of, sometimes, millions of dollars that they have already won.” Det Con Phil Raikes, of the economic crime unit at Greyfriars police station, said: “These letters are always a scam and should be thrown in the bin immediately.
“The problem is those that do reply get drawn further and further in, as the money they send becomes more and more and they don’t want to let that go. The fact is, you can’t win a lottery you haven’t entered, it’s really that simple.
“If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!”