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Lottery scam

I regularly report on scams that have occurred in Hampshire which are very often committed against the elderly or more vulnerable members of our community. Sadly I have another trick to warn you about after Police received a report of a phone scam offering the sale of lottery tickets. The con was particularly nasty as it went on for almost a year and cost the elderly victim some £15,000.

In March 2015, an elderly man in his 90s was called by someone he did not know and persuaded to buy 75 Irish lottery tickets. The victim was advised that a good win was common and he was sure to make a fortune. When the victim agreed, he was asked for his bank debit card details to ensure the tickets could be bought on his behalf. He was told evidence of the ticketsí purchase would be sent to him through the post.

Just a few days later he was contacted again and this time asked if he would be interested in other lotteries in Europe and Australia. The victim said he might be and he was told that some tickets would be purchased for him in the lotteries in Italy and Australia.

Over the subsequent months a total of nine further purchases were made, mostly without the victim's agreement, and certainly without him understanding what was really happening. The victim finally contacted his bank when he realised that he wasnít winning any prizes and thought that was odd. He then discovered that money had been taken without his consent and an investigation has now revealed that more than £15,000 was taken from his account.

This matter has been referred to the national Action Fraud team and although there havenít been many other similar offences reported locally, it is very likely that there have been other victims who either havenít yet realised they have been targeted and scammed, or simply would rather not report it as they feel they are in some way to blame. However it is important that you should contact the Police on 101 if you have been harassed by someone trying to sell you lottery tickets over the phone.

Remember, never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone and never give your PIN number out in any form (including typing in to a keypad). If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank to cancel your cards as soon as possible Ė please donít be embarrassed to speak up straight away!

Sometimes brazen fraudsters will still try to get your bank details by claiming to be Police Officers investigating their own crime! If someone calls claiming to be a Police Officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up the call and advise that you will call them back using the 101 number. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check.

Call them back from a different phone if possible or wait at least 10 minutes before making the call, to ensure they have not kept the line open.

Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere. If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make a note of their identification number. Ask them to wait while you verify their identity. Close the door and call 101. Dial 999 if it is an emergency. If you have elderly or vulnerable family or friends, please keep an eye out for them as best you can!

Remember Ė if you have information about ANY crime, please do not hesitate to give Crimestoppers a call on 0800 555 111 or log on to www.crimestoppers-uk.org where you can also give information anonymously. If you are on twitter, please follow me @HantsCrimestopp

PC Simon Wright

Article posted on: 01 February 2016

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