Beware of ‘Olympic’ scams

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AN OLYMPIC lottery scam sparked a string of complaints to Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

Letters illegally branded with the official Olympic and London 2012 logos told recipients they had won a £500,000 prize. They claimed winners could claim their prize by returning a payment processing form, by fax, with their personal details.

All supposed winnings were to be claimed by the end of April, encouraging recipients to make hasty decisions in case they missed out.

County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This is unlikely to be the last Olympic-related scam. We see hundreds of lottery-related scams, but the thing to remember is you can’t have won if you haven’t entered in the first place.

“You should never respond to letters which ask for your personal details. Our advice is to bin them straight away.

“The letter uses an address and telephone numbers to give the impression they have been sent from a London-based address. Even if fax and telephone numbers are recognisably UK numbers they can be redirected abroad directly to criminal gangs.”

It is unlikely London 2012 will be asking individuals to pay for goods or services, other than ticket sales and official merchandise. Letters about a lottery are almost certainly going to be bogus and will typically use poor quality reproductions of the Olympic logos.

Genuine lottery operators will not ask for fees to collect winnings – any request for a fee payment is a good indication the lottery is a fraud. Anyone who responds to a scam letter is likely to have their details circulated to other criminals and be bombarded with similar scam letters or phone calls.

Scams can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.