/ Money

Scam letter: the ‘International Postcode Lottery’

A scam ‘International Postcode Online Lottery’ letter is turning up in people’s post. We’ve obtained a copy so you know what to watch out for.

Thanks to regular reports from a number of Which? Conversation readers, we know that the ‘International Postcode Online Lottery’ scam letter isn’t going away.

It appears to have been given a refresh as fraudsters attempt to catch more people out. Previous versions of this letter mentioned the 2018 football World Cup, which has now been updated to Qatar 2022.

We were grateful to receive the below copy from a reader who wanted to help warn as many people as possible. Here’s what you need to watch out for in your post:

Postal scams like this are sent with the sole intention of obtaining money through deception or fraud.

Guide: how to avoid postal scams

If you’ve received this one, please do join us here in spreading the word to warn others, and report it to Action Fraud.

Have you been sent a similar letter referencing letters and/or high-profile sporting events? If so, we’d like to see it. Please get in touch in the comments below.

Original Convo 15/12/2017

A member told us:

‘I received an elaborate letter purporting to be from an international postcode lottery, claiming I had won £900,000. The letter was correctly addressed to me and contained logos for the 2018 Fifa World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics – two events it claimed to promote.

It asked me to collect my winnings by phoning a UK number and cited a prestigious London address. I have no knowledge of this lottery and have never entered it.’

Our say on fake postcode lottery letters

Similar ‘Fifa lottery’ letters have recently been the subject of warnings by Action Fraud and Trading Standards. The likely aim is to dupe you into giving away your bank details, or to get you to make a cash payment in order to ‘release’ fictional winnings.

In our member’s case, the details given in the letter didn’t stack up. The London address listed is currently a building site, and the developers of this site told us that they have no knowledge of an international lottery operating from it.

The firm that the letter comes from isn’t even registered on Companies House, but bears the same name as a legitimate bank in Australia.

When we called the claim line on the letter and said that we worked for Which?, the call handler said we had the ‘wrong number’ and subsequently became aggressive.

It’s best to ignore letters such as this altogether, and not even phone the number, as you may be charged.

Have you received a ‘Fifa’ lottery or similar letter claiming you’ve won a large cash prize? Did you part with any of your personal information in a bid to claim it? What happened?

Michael Thomas says:
26 April 2021

I received a very similar letter dated today 26/04/2021 supposedly for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, very elaborate scam.

I have received a letter today dated 23/04/2021 which is supposedly to promote the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup and the Tokyo 2021 I can see some people getting duped by this letter.

Inger Cooper says:
24 May 2021

I have also received one of these letters and have binned it!
My socalled winning ticket was for £825 000 000.
Much too good to be true.

harriet says:
3 June 2021

me too Inger! shall follow your lead, into the bin with it.

yvonne says:
5 July 2021

I’ve just received one today dated 02/07/2021. I would love to know who has sold my details on as my surname is spelt slightly different and I have only used that way of spelling it with a few companies.

16 September 2021

Received the same letter yesterday michael belfast

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Hi Micheal, we have some guidance on how to report this below from our site. Hope it helps 🙂

How to report junk and scam mail?
Junk mail you think might be from fraudsters can be sent to Royal Mail with a covering letter to: Freepost Scam Mail, PO Box 797, Exeter EX1 9UN.

You can also email scam.mail@royalmail.com or call 0345 611 3413.

Stop scam mail
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) will remove your name and address from mailing lists. Register for free by calling 0845 703 4599 or visit mpsonline.org.uk.

Link: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-report-a-scam-aG3sH5L8tjeP

John McGrann says:
21 September 2021

I got the same letter, they seem to be trying Northern Ireland now.