/ 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?

Comments

I have just received this scam letter today stating I had won £900,000.00 this is my second letter in 2 years from international postcode online lottery Australia.

P.M.R. says:
19 August 2019

I have received this International Postcode Online Lottery letter today August 19th 2019.
Reading past reports that cover a period of time ,why cannot the police stop this?

Janet Wilks says:
21 August 2019

i have received the letter this morning and pleased i looked on line before responding

My wife received a similar scam letter yesterday. What action should we take? Or is there nothing the authorities can do to trace this crooks?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks for the warning

mary Williams says:
5 October 2019

Re Postcode Online lottery program.
I received one of these letters this morning, but it didn’t request I kept it a secret. To begin my claim for £900,000, I need to contact a Mr. Bernard Gold at 22 Hanover Square london W1S 1HD. 2 telephone numbers also supplied!
No doubt the next request would be for bank details

This comment was removed at the request of the user

B loughran says:
5 October 2019

Just got my letter today I knew immediately it was a scam !😖

DAVID M DAINTER says:
6 October 2019

I received a letter on Saturday 5th of October letter heading International Postcode Online Lottery, stating I had an award notification. I had won £900,000,I new straight away it was a scam. I am 69 it is probably aimed at the older generation, people who don,t have the internet, so young people ,warn your parents,and family. D.M.D.
Editor’s note: this comment has been edited to sentence case. Please refrain from typing in all caps as this reads as one is yelling.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Cecilia McCauley says:
11 July 2020

I received this international postcode online lottery in the post yesterday 10/07/2020. My family immediately told me to tear it up as it was a scam. I never entered any competition. These fraudisters should be caught as someone may believe this draw is genuine.’if it’s too good to be true, it is too good to be true!!!!!!

Paul Smith says:
8 October 2019

I have received a similar letter, but my contact is BERNARD GOLD

My letter (2nd in two years) arrived on 4th October, dated 3rd October 2019
only this time asking me to contact an address in the Channel Islands. I got so excited I threw it in the bin!

Just received the ‘Award Notification’ for £900,000 like many others. This was dated 3/10/2019 and suggesting contacting Mr Bernard Gold at Westpac Financial Consultants at 22 Hanover Sq London (yes a building site) and supposedly signed by a Rose Murray (Vice President). One for the bin !!

Keep up the good work WHICH what would we do without you. Good luck.

T Murtagh says:
9 October 2019

I RECEIVED EXACTLY the same letter yesterday 8 Oct to my address in N Ireland I am 71 years old so in the upper age limit . I had my suspicions and had no intention of phoning Mr GOLD but out of curiosity I googled it

Ivan Baillie says:
9 October 2019

I to have just received a £900,000 pound letter. And to be honest I was rather excited..just for about 15 minutes because I have never seen one before..bloody scammers .becareful people!

Kevin burgess says:
11 October 2019

My mom just had the same letter deliverd to an i told her right away it was a scam

I received this letter in the post today . Momentarily felt excited but thought too good to be true and l don’t do any postcode lottery . Made me laugh saying do not tell anyone . Checked online to confirm it’s a scam. Well keep sharing to minimise the risk to stop people being caught out . I wonder whether they ever catch these fraudsters?

My wife received this letter today.So obviously a scam that I binned it straight away.

D Fairhurst says:
18 October 2019

I received one today with the previous homeowners name on. Same numbers everything, scam written all over it.

Peggy Evans says:
18 October 2019

My husband received the same letter today, dated 16.10.19. One sentence gives it away as a scam, due to bad English. It says ‘Please to help us proceed with your claims, this information must be kept away from public to avoid unwarranted abuse of the program’
This tells me it was not written by an English person.

Lynette Marshall says:
21 October 2019

Just recieved my letter, off to the bin it goes lol
Mr Charles Frost Hannover sq is my contact

Hanover Square is spelled Hanover ,NOT HanNover ,the misspelling is just one of several grammatically incorrect sections and syntax errors in the letter.
In the 2nd parapraph ,the strange sentence construction of “Please to help’ is weirdly non-english.
I suspect poor translation as in the 3rd. paragraph ,and all the way through in fact ,the word ‘the’ is omitted in several important areas ,this error is a classic eastern european or african mistranslate mistake ,probably the former.
In the 4th. parapraph ,there is no full stop at the end of the sentence.
At the end of the 5th. paragraph ,the word Possible has an unneccessary capital letter when it should ne lower case.,in the 4th. parapraph ,there is no necessity for the word winnings to have a capital letter either.

All in all ,a very poor scam attempt ,or,as my English Master would scribble at the bottom of my essays at school – “Could do better,see me after school!”

The problem today is that so many people have such poor English language skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar that they would not recognise a hoax if it was served up on a silver salver with watercress all round it.

Sadly. so true…