Commonly known as ‘scams’, these frauds target the unwary and arrive in the form of unsolicited e-mail, letters or telephone calls.
They involve lotteries, prizes, awards, miracle cures, clairvoyants and other promises of good fortune.
The recipient will reply, whether directly through telephone, by post or e-mail and will be invited to send money. The excuse often used is that it is to assist in the administration of the release of the winnings.
- Big winnings do not exist. Occasionally items of little value will be sent as prizes.
- They are fraud and an attempt to elicit money from unsuspecting victims.
- As the winnings on offer are substantial, so too can the advance fees required to release the funds.
The cruel part of the scam is that suspects build up a rapport with victims to continue the flow of money.
Who are the victims?
Anyone can be a victim.
- E-mails are sent to huge numbers of people and anyone can become a potential victim.
- Letters are more specific and in many cases the elderly are most at risk.
- The victim may respond and after sending a fee to the fraudsters may have telephone contact.
- The fraudsters will gain the confidence of the victim, hence where the elderly are most at risk.
- Communications are often sent to accommodation addresses. These are then collected by couriers or third parties and sent on to the fraudsters.
- Payments are made through cheques, credit / debit card transactions or through sending cash via money transfer services.
- Cheques can be cleared through international clearing services and the money will go through a series of further transactions before finally arriving in the pockets of the fraudsters.
What to do in the event of receiving an unsolicited communication:
If you receive these communications do not reply to them. If you are a victim of this fraud, report it!