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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!

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