/ 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?

Dennis Rowe says:
4 November 2020

I have received this letter today dated 03-11-2020. Exactly the same wording and win of £900.000
And to contact standard chartered financial consultants.

Mrs S Taylor says:
6 November 2020

I received the same letter dated 03-11-2020 with exactly the same wording.

Michael Russell says:
7 November 2020

Michael Russell.

Me to! Same letter dated 30-10-2020.
Is there no way to track down these people? The Devil always seems to look after his own.

Gerry Nichols says:
9 November 2020

Letter with similar wording received 08.11.20 referring to Standard Financial Consultants with slightly different phone numbers 0207-060-6473 and 0738-765-1006. It came in a 1st Class postage paid envelope licence reference HQ 30652 which must be traceable

I’ve just opened the same letter!! Obviously a scam but some people might be taken in by this as it looks official ..ish. Shame they can’t spell Hanover correctly!

I have just received the same letter dated 13-11-2020 with the same winning numbers and cash prize, thought it might be a scam and after some quick checks think I was right

I received the very same letter today

Christine Johnson says:
19 November 2020

I received a letter today. I realised it was a scam right away as I’ve never even heard of this so called lottery, let alone entered it. I took none of the actions they requested. I don’t know how these people can live with themselves, deliberately conning innocent people. No doubt and sadly, there will be plenty of victims who fall for this shameless practice. Let’s hope it can be stamped out before too many more people are affected.

Rob McCall says:
3 December 2020

Received the same letter and have ordered a new Mercedes. What great timing, just before Christmas.

Henry Williams says:
25 January 2021

It’s Monday at 1:06 and I. Currently chatting with them right now!!

Fiona Balfour says:
3 February 2021

My mum has received one today as well.

Colin Tyler says:
4 February 2021

Letter received today, instantly suspected (very strongly!) a hoax, your site confirms it. Reported to Action Fraud. More waste paper!

5 February 2021

A 91yr old lady showed me a very similar letter today. Same wording, same winning numbers, same prize of £900,000 and contact details. She immediately thought it was a scam. Thank goodness she is a savvy lady.
Yesterday she had a phone call from a ‘doctor’ to give her an appointment for her second Covid vaccine (after asking if she had received the first dose). She put the phone down and phoned her surgery ,who told her that they hadn’t called her.

Paul Weir says:
16 February 2021

I received the same letter 16.02.2021 as those below, obviously the scammers are still finding it effective. the letter is written exactly as shown in your article.

Heather Orr says:
10 March 2021

Just to confirm I have received the same letter today. I will withhold buying my villa in Spain!!!

J Page says:
13 March 2021

I’ve also received this letter today .

Leslie hole says:
25 March 2021

I recieved a letter today

30 March 2021

Received same letter obviously knew it was a scam so refrained from calling my local porche dealers

I recieved exactly the same letter today thank you for letting people know about the scam x

I have just received the same letter today saying I have won 900,000. If it isn’t people scamming you with pets it’s now this ! Unbelievable some very nasty people out there! Thanks for the heads up hopefully these people will get caught 🙂

Monica French says:
26 April 2021

Husband received scam letter this morning. Same amount 900,000.