Householders in the Mid Ulster area have been advised to be vigilant after letters claiming to be from a major lottery were sent to addresses in south Londonderry.
DUP councillor James Shiels said the bogus letter has the appearance of official correspondence from the International FIFA World Cup online lottery, including use of logos, and informs the recipient that they have won £725,000.
The scam has been running in various guises across the UK for at least six years, with numerous media reports of people being conned out of money.
The fraudsters trick unwary respondents into handing over money for “cheque release” fees and other legal costs – sometimes running into tens of thousands of pounds.
Mr Shiels said one of his constituents, who had not entered any lotteries, realised it was a scam but was worried that others could be conned.
“This is the third time in less than a year that I have been made aware of residents in south Londonderry receiving these types of letters so residents need to be aware of these scams and the families of elderly residents should make sure that their relatives aren’t being tricked into handing over their hard earned cash,” Mr Shiels said.
“Having investigated the information on the letter, it turns out the address this supposed lottery company is connected to is an obsolete address at the site of what is actually a restaurant in London and the ‘president’ of the lottery, doesn’t exist.
“Making prosecutions and curtailing of this type of criminality difficult.
“I can’t emphasise this enough, if you receive this letter, or one like it, put it in the bin.”