In the past three months, the crooks have tricked people into believing they made money – but instead stole thousands of pounds from them.
The victims received a phone call from the sinister crooks and pretended they had won a UK or international lottery.
Even those who did not knowingly participate in a lottery have been duped.
Scammers usually ask the “winner” to keep their success a secret, but they need the money to cover taxes or to make sure the “winner” is allowed to collect their cashpot.
Police said they sometimes ask for bank details in another way to get money into accounts.
Since August, £ 63,000 has been scammed by at least 10 ‘bogus lottery winners’ in the West Midlands.
Kloe Burrows, West Midlands Police Economic Crime Unit, said: “These scammers are manipulative and can be very convincing.
“They are able to exploit anyone with their powers of persuasion, even to the point of making people believe that they could be a winner even without having a regular lottery.
“In these difficult times, the idea of making a lot of money is even more appealing. But it is imperative that you stop and think; if it sounds too good to be true, it often is.
- Do not respond to such communication. If you haven’t entered a lottery, you cannot have won it.
- No official lottery operator will charge a fee for collecting winnings.
- Never give out your bank details and never pay any fees up front.
- Genuine lotteries thrive on advertising. If they ask you to keep your victory a secret, it is likely a fraud.
What if you are a victim?
If you’ve been the victim of lottery fraud, report it to Action Fraud.
If you have responded to a scam email / phone call, stop all contact with scammers at the same time.
If you’ve given scammers your bank details or sent money, notify your bank immediately.
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Be aware that you are now likely to be the target of other scammers, as they often share details about the people they have successfully targeted or approached.
If you think you are a police victim via live chat on our website or visit Action Fraud website at www.actionfraud.police.uk