/ 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?

Beth says:
28 May 2019

I recieved the letter today, you just wonder where they get your info, but the worst thing is this looks like it’s been doing the rounds a long time, why has this not been stopped!!!

Laura Stenhouse says:
28 May 2019

Was just speaking to my mum and she said she has received this letter today. She didn’t phone the number – she wanted to show it to me or my sister first. She’s pretty savvy for an 81 year old – you often read of the older generation giving in to these things. I had a look online and found this post and told her it was a scam.

Alan Short says:
29 May 2019

Today, 28th May 2019, regretfully have to report ‘Lottery’ scam is still being mailed.
Loteria, El Gordo, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia promoting 2018 FIFA World Cup (Russia) and 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (Japan) are advising you have won £900,000 in their lottery.

This scam has been running for over two years now, just some names and part of telephone number changes. Surely the authorities should/could have put a stop to this by now? If not why the hell not

[This comment has been edited to remove personal information. Community guidelines: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines. You can report the number here: https://www.which.co.uk/tools/report-a-call-or-text/ ]

brian purdy says:
24 June 2019

I have just received lottery letter same as above didn’t even ring number came onto computer and bingo loads of scam letters

20 years ago I worked for the National Lottery. We were regularly contacted by people from all over the world who were victims of similar scams, sadly many sent money to ‘release the finds’ or some other concocted reason. The difficulty in preventing these scams is tracing the origin, any criminal offence is committed in the Country where the scam is perpetrated. The important message to get out to people is if you haven’t bought a ticket you haven’t won anything.

alan hodge says:
3 June 2019

Glad I checked with you guys received this same crape this morning although you know its a scam the thought of winning such a large amount of money almost pulls you in (no chance)

I too, received this lottery scam yesterday I may be older and wiser now but this does not fool me. Something too good to be true requires investigation and I find, not to my surprise, that this is a scam!
The government should treat this matter as urgent and save heartbreak for those who think it genuine.

I’ve also had a letter today how do they get your name and address 😠

I’ve got the letter but could not upload on my post.

Paddy McCourt says:
15 February 2021

My wife was sent a copy of the letter today 15th Feb 2021, so obviously this scam is still going on

Sue Horne says:
2 July 2019

I received a copy of this letter today 2nd July also stating that I had won £900,000. Checked online to establish it is a scam and have not responded but no doubt some people will.


My Nan had one of these letters.

She is 92 and got all excited. I stopped her calling the number and had to explain it’s not real.

Alan Gibson says:
8 July 2019

What the hell is wrong with our justice system. These scams usually target the elderly who are easy pickings for these scams. So, how do we protect them and the general public, oh, just ignore it they tell us. Hold on a minute, this is wrong, these people should be tracked down and prosecuted, instead of the usual sweeping it under the carpet. I find this jelly type lack of action is typical from trading standards, police, other professional agencies and groups that are supposed to protect us from these scams. I give up!!

Alan, I hope most elderly people will be enjoying the “wisdom of years” so they won’t easily fall prey to these scams.

With regard to our justice system, it does seem to be very hard to catch and prosecute scammers, especially if they are based outside the UK. Ultimately, it is more down to policing and how much money we want to spend on our police.

Here in Gloucester, our police cannot even afford to give any priority to the investigation of minor thefts, such as when property is taken by breaking into locked garages and sheds.

Barbara Beaton says:
8 July 2019

I received an “International Postcode Lottery Online” letter today. I assumed it was a scam and did not respond to it. I will certainly forward the letter to you if you are interested, if not I will shred it.

Chris says:
8 July 2019

I’ve just received the letter today telling me I’ve won £900,000. I knew it was a scam straight away because the envelope it came in had the Royal Mail logo on the top right and read “Delivered by Royal Mail” and “Postage Paid”. Having worked for RM I knew the letter was only one of a larger bulk mailing with a minimum of letters in the low hundreds and perhaps and more likely in thousands. It was a spread mailing hoping to catch as many as possible.

I don’t know if I’m unusual but I automatically doubt that anyone would be wanting to give me a lot of money.

Roger Grant says:
22 July 2019

Just received a letter from the “International Postcode Online Lottery” saying that I have win £900.000 (that would be right) I have to say it’s well done, please bin it.

Lesley Etwell says:
29 July 2019

I have just received this scam lottery win letter. I am savvy enough to know that you don’t get something for nothing but it concerns me that others may be more vulnerable.

I received this letter in the post this morning I instinctively knew it was a scam (I am a silver surfer) but checked on line to confirm I thinks it’s disgusting how low people can go to steal money from others especially the older generation many of who aren’t a savvy as me

Rickie says:
5 August 2019

I too received one today …. how I laughed…. I loved the bit about not telling anybody of my 900,000 quid win in a competition I have never even heard of let alone entered!!. I was picked out from 390 million individuals…. yeah right!!
Is this scam being followed up by the various fraud departments because somebody is gonna get stung

Gary says:
12 August 2019

I received the same letter today. Exactly the same. Would like to attache photo. Is it possible ?

Got the same letter today. Didn’t think for s second I’d really won a share of £900k but wanted to see how the scam worked!

I haven’t seen one of these in a while. Maybe they’re getting so professional that they’re actually keeping records!

I’ve always known not to respond to this particular scam, there’s no way I’d be contributing to the richest sport in the world.

Lester Palmer says:
17 August 2019

Hi, also received the same letter this week identical to the one shown above. Realised it was a scam straight away using the old adage “if it seems to good to be true it probably is”. I can see how older people could be tricked into phoning up though so will warn everyone that I can but there should be a way of stopping this. Is there any official body that this could be sent to or could it be shown on the TV to make sure nobody falls for it. ?

Colin Dainty says:
19 August 2019

I have just received scam letter from international postcode online lottery I’d like to thank everyone who has reported this. colin

Richard Smout says:
19 August 2019

Hi, I received the scam letter this morning, 19th August 2019. Although the majority of the letter is the same as the one posted in the article, the contact details are different:

[This comment has been edited to remove personal information. Please see community guidelines for more information. https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/ ]