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Scam ‘lottery’ letter targets Lurgan residents with fake ‘winnings’

Somewhat suspiciously, the letter also asks that the recipient keep their 'win' a secret to, ironically, 'avoid fraudulent acts from criminal minded persons'

A scam letter posted to an address in Lurgan. Image from Carla Lockhart MP

‘Sophisticated’ but fake letters claiming the recipients have won £900,000 in an online lottery have been delivered to houses in Lurgan.

One such letter, purporting to be from the ‘International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery’ was posted through the door of one resident in the Mourneview area of the town today.

It was highlighted by Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart, who urged residents to be vigilant for such scams, specially older members of the community.

“This is fake but it is sophisticated in that they are targeting older people with them. Please warn your neighbours and family,” she said.

The letter claims to be from ‘the desk of the International Postcode Lottery Commission’ and presents itself as an ‘Award Notification’.

The spelling and grammar are shoddy, and while they may appear as scam letters to the more savvy of residents, the seemingly professional and sophisticated nature could proof misleading to others, especially the older generation.

Signed by ‘ Vice-President Rose Murray’, it asks the recipient to contact a ‘Mr Bernard Edwards’ to process the winnings, which will allegedly be paid via cheque or bank transfer.

The letter reads: “We are delighted to inform you of the International FIFA World Cup Lottery Program held on 15/03/2024. Due to mix up of names and numbers the results were released on 22/03/2024.

“Your name attached to ticket number: 038/76 with serial number: 084 drew lucky numbers: 13-21-27-36-38-45 with bonus ball 4 which consequently won in the 4th category, you have therefore been approved the winner for a lump sum pay out of Nine Hundred Thousand Pounds (£900,000.00).”

It adds: “This is a tax-free draw and all participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from Over 390,000,000, individuals worldwide.”

The program claims to have been designed and promoted by European lottery, Loteria, El Gordo and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with the aim of promoting the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Somewhat suspiciously, the letter also asks that the recipient keep their ‘win’ a secret to, ironically, “avoid fraudulent acts from criminal minded persons”.

It also claims if the ‘winnings’ are not claimed by May 31, the so-called funds will be returned to the ‘International Board of Internal Revenue’.

Amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and rising food prices, £900,000 might seem like a tempting proposition but, as the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

Police have urged the public to be vigilant after reports of the letters being circulated.

Inspector Browne said: “While the letters have the appearance of being official, we believe this to be an attempt to target vulnerable members of our community in a scam.

“We’re urging anyone who receives this type of letter to be vigilant. No matter what type of scam it is and the different methods employed, a common element shared by scammers is they will go to great lengths to trick people and take advantage of their vulnerability and good faith.”

He added: “Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer. If you are concerned by the intent of unsolicited letters, emails or calls report it to Action Fraud via their website or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101.”

In January, the PSNI stated there were 5,412 reports of fraud made in the preceding 13 months, amounting to total losses of approximately £23.1 million.

Chair of ScamwiseNI Partnership, PSNI Chief Superintendent Gerard Pollock said: “Behind each of these reports, is a person or a business owner who have been cheated by criminals and had their money stolen. It can be a life time of savings or years of building a business.

“Not only can there be a significant financial hit, but this type of crime can also be really traumatic and emotionally distressing.”

For further advice and information visit or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.

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