Scam artists have been trying to fleece locals into believing they have scooped a fortune on the People’s Postcode Lottery – even though it is not even open to those living here.
Several local people have come forward to say they have received notification that they are due windfalls worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Newry and Armagh SDLP MLA Justin McNulty – who said he has taken a number of calls from people who have been tageted – believes fraudsters are targeting the elderly, frail and disabled as part of the scam.
He has warned local residents to be on their guard.
Mr McNulty explained the ruse, saying: “Different constituents from across Newry and Armagh received letters claiming to be from the People’s Postcode Lottery saying they had won a share of £45 million and they should get in contact to claim their prize. In return all they have to do is pay a five per cent commission on all winnings.
“This is a scam. Those responsible are targeting the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled and you should not reply to this letter.
“I made contact with the genuine People’s Lottery organisation. They do not operate in Northern Ireland. They are an organisation based in Scotland, and yet the letter received by locals claims to be from the People’s Lottery Head Office in London.
“They are deeply concerned but not surprised about this fraud and they will be contacting the PSNI about the issue.
‘The old saying is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Well this certainly is the case. If someone or some organisation who you have never heard off or are not subscribed to is writing to you offering you money in return for your bank details or a small commission, my strong advice is to either ignore it or to contact the PSNI.
“We have heard too many horror stories of the elderly and frail being conned out of money. I would urge people to be extra vigilant.”