21/06/2007

Public warned about Spanish Lottery scam

Consumers in Northern Ireland are being warned to be cautious of any mailings claiming they have won the Spanish Lottery.

This follows the receipt of a number of complaints by the Department of Enterprise, trade and Investment’s Trading Standards Service.

Trading Standards Inspector Simon Keegan explained: “Mailings, purporting to come from the El Gordo, Lotteria Primitiva in Madrid, are being sent to Northern Ireland consumers, claiming they have won the Spanish Lottery.

“In order to claim the ‘prize’, recipients are asked to provide their bank details and told that 10% of the winnings will be retained for costs. The ‘winners’ are later contacted and asked for various fees in order to release their supposed prize, but they never receive a penny.”

The El Gordo lottery is the official Spanish lottery but it is only open to Spanish residents. The people behind the scam are not connected to the real El Gordo lottery.

Mr Keegan warned consumers: “Always be suspicious if you are contacted regarding winning a prize when you have not actually entered a lottery or competition.

“No bona fide lottery, such as the El Gordo Spanish National Lottery, would demand up-front fees. Never send any money or give out your personal bank details in response to an unsolicited call or mailing.

“Anyone wishing to avoid receiving unsolicited personalised mailings should register with the Mailing Preference Service on 0845 703 4599 or log on to www.mpsonline.org.uk.”

(JM)

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