Images have come to light of scam lottery letters, using the World Cup as a backdrop, that claim that the recipient has won a big cash prize. The letters contain official logos and claim to have an affiliation with the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The UK National Trading Standards (NTS) organization issued a warning about the letters, explaining that this type of scam was seen during previous major soccer tournaments. The NTS has urged the public to send it any such correspondence in the coming weeks, free of charge, and is calling the campaign “Scamnesty.”
By building a fuller picture of the scams out there, we can stay a step ahead of the criminals.”
Talking about the importance of the public helping deal with the scam, NTS scams team head Louise Baxter said: “By building a fuller picture of the scams out there, we can stay a step ahead of the criminals.”
Baxter also encouraged people to talk with their older relatives and friends about the scam, as they might be particularly vulnerable.
A popular type of scam
Global organized criminal organizations are often found to be behind these scams. They often tweak the focus of the scam depending on certain hot topics that might be going on at the moment. The World Cup takes place every four years and garners huge attention around the world, thus the fake letters are looking to leverage that interest for personal gain.
vulnerable people losing large sums of money
Fraudsters hope that people believe that they have actually won money when they receive the letter, which usually says that the recipient has to pay some sort of upfront fee in order to receive the winnings. There have been numerous cases of vulnerable people losing large sums of money through these types of scams.
The authorities are working hard to combat this type of fraud as much as possible. In one case earlier in 2022, 3,500 UK victims of a global scam were refunded a share of £530,000 ($633,759) following a wide-ranging investigation.
Identifying a scam letter
There are a number of different ways to spot a scam letter. The correspondence will often contain the recipient’s name and will include crests and seals used to mimic those of an official body.
Certain words like “100% genuine” or “guaranteed” are often used, as well as specific sums of money. Another key characteristic of a scam letter is that they try to create a sense of urgency in the recipient, often providing some sort of deadline by which a reply is necessary.