Scammers operating a FIFA World Cup lottery fraud are back in business targeting victims through the mail system and email. Organised crime gangs frequently operate this kind of scam around the time of major events, telling their targets that they have won a large sum of money in a lottery but must pay to release the funds.
The UK National Trading Standards are now inundated with complaints and said that previous major football tournaments have always seen a surge in this type of crime.
Louise Baxter, head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, said:
“By building a fuller picture of the scams out there, we can stay a step ahead of the criminals. And as well as sending in their own scam mail, I’d encourage people to talk about Scamnesty with older friends and relatives. They are likely to be at the sharp end of the mailings so the intelligence they can provide is crucial.”
Officers said that the average amount requested during 2022 was £48 in cash but many people have lost thousands of pounds.
John Herriman, chief executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), said:
“Trading Standards professionals witness the devastating effects of scam mail day in and day out. The criminals behind these letters prey on the most vulnerable in our society, and at this time of year those that feel isolated and lonely are more inclined to respond to scam mail arriving out of the blue. Our lead officers have witnessed horrific cases whereby victims have lost over £100,000 to scam mail. It is a terrible cycle that some find it hard to get out of as the scammers often befriend their victims to build a level of trust.”
Anybody who has received correspondence informing them that they have won a prize should take extra care to avoid falling victim to these fraudsters. Letters sent through the mail service often look official with good quality paper and a proper header. There is usually a strict deadline included to instil a sense of urgency upon the potential victim.
One sample email that circulated earlier this year read:
Apparently, you were selected in the “QATAR FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 GAME PROMOTION Draw held in Istanbul Turkey through an open Computer ballot JAVA System”.
“This Promotional Lottery Draws sponsored by the Hisense, Microsoft and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Collaboration with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to help provide financial assistance to families across the globe while working hard with so many nations to combat this world Coronavirus pandemic and also to support the coming QATAR FIFA WORLD CUP 2022 GAME.”
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