Citizens advice officials in Hartlepool are warning people not to be taken in by a scam postcode lottery letter going around.
The letter claims to be from the People’s Postcode Lottery and refers to a prize of £325,000.
People receiving them should not be tempted into giving any personal or banking details to the scammers and they should certainly not part with any moneyJoe Michna, Citizens Advice Hartlepool
But Citizens Advice Hartlepool says people are told to ring a number which asks for a ‘processing fee’ of between £200 and £300.
Hartlepool Trading Standards has received several complaints from residents about the letter.
Joe Michna, manager of Citizens Advice Hartlepool, in Park Road, said: “These letters have scam written all over them and people receiving them should not be tempted into giving any personal or banking details to the scammers, and they should certainly not part with any money.”
The citizens advice service says there are numerous giveaways that the letter is not genuine.
They include being written in poor English and makes reference to the UK Board of Internal Revenue which does not exist.
Mr Michna added: “We have seen reports on the internet that similar types of letters have been received around different parts of the country.
“Anybody receiving these letters should exercise extreme care and common sense and if in doubt about the legitimacy of them, seek advice.”
Hartlepool Borough Council, which runs the local trading standards department, advises anyone receiving letters claiming to be from a postcode lottery to treat them with suspicion.
A spokesman said: “Bogus ‘winning’ letters received are often of a high quality and convincing.
“If you do not take part in the postcode lottery then you cannot have won.
“If you do take part and receive a letter claiming that you have won then we would advise you to obtain a genuine telephone number for the People’s Postcode Lottery and contact them directly.
“Do not rely on the contact details listed in the letter as they may well be bogus.”