Householders are being warned to be on their guard against a scam letter promising a prize of £900,000 which has been sent to several residents in Hartlepool.
Cleveland Police and Citizens Advice Hartlepool are warning residents after a number of people reported receiving letters from the ‘International Postcode Online Lottery’.
The official-looking letter, which has been handed to investigators, claims to be raising money for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The scam claims that in order to collect their winnings, people must call a number, give their bank details and pay a small admin fee.
Joe Michna, manager at Citizens Advice Hartlepool, said: “This scam letter has been seen many times in the past with slight variations. It is clearly a scam.
“The scammers are obviously targeting the Hartlepool area and although we have so far advised eight clients on this letter, we are sure many more have been sent out to other local residents.
“If it sound to good to be true, it probably is.
“This promises a prize of £900,000, but our advice to local residents is to ignore it and do not contact the senders as requested in the letter.
“This kind of scam letter has been around for a long time and they may be looking to try and obtain bank details from you and other personal information.
“We would therefore advise extreme caution if you are tempted to respond to whoever is behind this scam. For further advice on these letters, you can contact us.”
Police are asking people to be cautious when giving out personal details and to report any suspicious letters.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “Police are warning members of the public about a scam in which people are asked to give their bank details.
“Officers have received reports of letters being received by victims, claiming to be from the ‘International Postcode Online Lottery’.
“The letter explains that in order to collect their winnings, people must call a number and give their bank details and pay a small admin fee.
“Police would like to remind people to be cautious when giving out personal details and to report any suspicious letters.”
Anyone who thinks that they may have been a victim or anyone with further information regarding the scam is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org