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Lottery scams are making headlines at the moment, and it is important for players to be vigilant to the minority who are out to spoil the fun.

Generally the lottery is an exhilarating experience, however scammers are out there, and players should always check out any communication detailing lottery wins before passing over sensitive information.

Lottery scams are run by members of the public who, instead of waiting for the lottery odds to turn in their favour, believe it is their right to earn their own jackpot by conning other members of the public out of their own rightfully earned money. The con artists will often ask for bank details and other sensitive information, which will lead them right to their victim’s money.

The most recent scam to have hit the lottery world took place in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and masqueraded as the ‘EuroMillions International Postcode Lottery’, a lottery game which, in fact, does not exist. The scammers in this case wrote a letter to a resident of Londonderry informing him that he had won £900,000 on this fabricated lottery game. The letter was written on professional paper and included an address in Brussels, home of the European parliament, designed to make the recipient believe that the lottery was above board.

Fortunately for this savvy Northern Irish man, he noticed several errors in the letter, including spelling mistakes, which did not ring true, and so instead of following the instructions set out by the ‘lottery’, he turned the letter over to the police. Being asked to telephone a named person before April 4th 2014, the recipient was also told that if he did not adhere to this deadline then his prize fund would be returned to the ‘UK Board of Internal Revenue’, and was asked to keep the information private so as not to encourage abuse of the programme.

Clearly, this letter is badly researched and written, and is sending off warning signs as soon as it tells the recipient not to go public with their ‘win’, however unfortunately not all recipients will be perceptive enough to know that this is a lottery scam.

Unsuspecting people will often end up providing their bank details to these fake lottery officials, or even sending a deposit in order to secure the release of the money. This can often see lottery hopefuls getting into debt as they pay deposit after deposit, with the promise that not only will they get their money back, but their winnings on top.

The best advice from police in Londonderry is this: if you haven’t entered a lottery, then you can’t have won it, and if it looks too good to be true, then it generally is. We echo this advice and remind you, as we often do, that you’ve got to be in it to win it.

Good luck from your Team!