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united kingdom lottery scams

United kingdom lottery scams

Latest: I’ve had multiple independent reports that suggest the scammers are starting to use snail mail (Post Office mail) to target potential victims in a very similar manner to their lottery e-mail scams. The same advice applies – bin any letters you receive, ignore them and do not reply to them.

Firstly, the scammer has to construct a reasonably convincing-sounding “you’ve won the lottery” e-mail, so they’re now tending to throw in verifiable correct facts in there to make it sound legitimate. The three most common things they put in are:


    The draw number, date, winning numbers and jackpot amount of a recent UK lottery draw. Note that it won’t always be the latest one – quite often, it’s a few weeks old. Why would they take so long to e-mail you that you’ve won such a huge prize? Answer: they’re scammers and are probably a few weeks behind sending out bulk e-mails to potential victims with info from previous draws to catch up to the most recent one.

The name and/or address of something legitimate that’s lottery related. Favourites include Camelot’s full postal address (both the Olympia Way one in London and the P.O. Box one in Watford have been used) and, quite irritatingly, my name (Richard K. Lloyd), which people Google for and hence I get a constant stream of people asking if the scam e-mail they received is legitimate or not (and if you think about it, why ask me – what credentials do I have to verify such e-mails ?!).

  • A graphical attachment is often included with the e-mail – this can range from the blue National Lottery “crossed fingers” official logo (which you have to get permission from Camelot to use), an embedded graphic of this site’s lottery balls for a particular draw (the cheek!), a scanned copy of the (fake) “winning” cheque or a bogus “winners certificate”.
  • Of course, they then blow this to smithereens by using a free Webmail-based e-mail account (e.g. yahoo.co.uk, hotmail.com and so on) to send their scam e-mail from – do you really think Camelot (who run the UK lottery) would ever send e-mail to end-users from a Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail account? Nope, they never would and this should be enough to stop you dead in your tracks and delete the scam e-mail.

    It should be noted here that the only legal place to buy UK lottery tickets (and, yes, you have to buy them – there is no such thing as a “free UK lottery sweepstake” in existence) on the Internet is at the official UK lottery site located at http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/ and even then you need a UK address and a UK debit card. Any other site that says it sells UK lottery tickets is breaking the law. If you have not bought your ticket from either an official UK lottery physical terminal (e.g. in a UK newsagent, UK supermarket etc.) or from the official site mentioned above, then you *cannot* win a UK lottery prize.

    Note that even Camelot themselves have now stopped e-mailing people who won via an online ticket (and not a moment too soon – you now have to log into the official Web site to discover you’ve won, which is as it should be). Hence, any person/organisation sending you e-mail saying you’ve won a (usually large) prize on the UK lottery is lying, it’s as simple as that.

    The first e-mail you will receive will usually avoid mentioning any “processing/claim/courier fee” that you’ll have pay to them – this is to try to hook you in to the scam and not scare you off right away. Instead, the scammer will ask for as much personal information as possible (full name, address, date of birth etc.) – this is useful for them if you get so deep into the scam that they might want to try forging documents with your info on them. Don’t give them any info (you deleted that e-mail anyway didn’t you ?).

    The scammer will often say “don’t tell anyone about this win” (by “anyone”, they probably mean the police, so that they won’t be tracked down and prosecuted !), which is a very silly instruction for them give if you think about it. Who are they to say who you can and can’t tell that you’ve “won” the lottery ?

    If you are foolish enough to have started up a phone or e-mail conversation with the scammers, they will inevitably try to get a “claim fee” from you to process the lottery win. Let me see – you’ve “won” a lottery you never entered in the first place and now you’re expected to pay possibly thousands of pounds to someone you’ve never heard of to get hold of “winnings” that they provide no proof whatsoever even exists ?! If you haven’t twigged it’s a scam at this point, you’re quite a naive person to say the least.

    Sadly, if you have fallen for the scam and actually sent them money, then you probably have no chance of recovering the money you sent, especially if it’s to a different country (that fact that someone outside the UK would be involved in a UK lottery really should have set alarm bells ringing). If it’s within your own country, perhaps contacting the police might be a start or possibly the standards trading officers for the county involved, but I don’t hold out much hope of ever getting your money back.

    Some more reading on this subject to further enlighten you:

    The official Camelot site’s Security Advice
    Months after I put this page up warning about scams, Camelot finally did something similar. Because of their tardiness (especially poor since scam e-mails often mention the official site and Camelot’s postal address!), I’ve been fielding way too many “I’d like to claim my prize” e-mails, which hopefully will now go to the official site Webmaster and not me (update: nope, still getting a stream of queries about scam e-mails, ho hum).

    The UK Government’s list of scam types
    Basically says the same thing as this page (don’t communicate with them and delete any messages from them).

    BBC News: How not to win a million
    Interesting article, including some bloke from the Midlands who was conned out of almost 20,000 Euros.

    The Dutch Lottery Scam
    This page is handy because it gives you some useful advice on how to report advance fee frauds.

    Fraudwatch International’s lottery scams section
    A shockingly high number of lottery fraudsters out there!

    Please note – although scammers have used my name in their fraudulent e-mails, I am NOT involved in any way with any of these scams. Having read this page, I hope you realise that I don’t need to be e-mailed about these scams – if they use my name and claim you’ve won the lottery, they are fraudulent and should be ignored. I did get one very funny UK lottery scam e-mail though which I think is worth sharing with you , but sadly, it was the exception to the rule.

    United kingdom lottery scams Latest: I’ve had multiple independent reports that suggest the scammers are starting to use snail mail (Post Office mail) to target potential victims in a very

    Man convicted over £2.5m National Lottery fake ticket fraud

    Edward Putnam conspired with Camelot insider to present counterfeit slip to claim prize

    Edward Putman was found guilty of fraud by false representation. Photograph: David Mirzoeff/PA

    Edward Putman was found guilty of fraud by false representation. Photograph: David Mirzoeff/PA

    Last modified on Fri 4 Oct 2019 16.30 BST

    A man has been convicted of cashing in a fake National Lottery ticket to claim a £2.5m jackpot.

    Edward Putman conspired with a Camelot insider to cheat the system and present a counterfeit slip to claim the outstanding top prize in 2009.

    He devised the plan with his friend Giles Knibbs – who then worked in the securities department at the lottery operator – with the pair submitting a deliberately damaged forgery just before the 180-day limit to stake claims expired.

    The fake National Lottery ticket used by Putman. Photograph: Crown Prosecution Service/PA

    But the fraud unravelled after Knibbs confessed to friends that he had “conned” the lottery before killing himself after an angry row about how the winnings were divided.

    Jurors at St Albans crown court found Putman guilty of fraud by false representation on Friday after a two-week trial. Putman did not appear to make any reaction to the verdict.

    The genuine winning ticket, which was bought in Worcester, has never been discovered.

    Putman, a convicted rapist, was paid the jackpot by Camelot despite the bottom part of the mangled slip missing the barcode, the trial heard.

    Jurors were told the scam began to fall apart after the friendship between former business partners Knibbs and Putman deteriorated.

    Knibbs’s behaviour became increasingly erratic and he began revealing details of the fraud to friends after failing to receive what he said was his agreed £1m share of the prize. He confronted Putman in a heated argument in June 2015, breaking Putman’s car wing mirrors and stealing his phone.

    The lottery worker was subsequently arrested for burglary, blackmail and criminal damage after Putman complained to police. He later killed himself after fearing he would go down for 10 to 15 years for blackmail, the trial heard.

    Evidence suggested Knibbs was initially paid £280,000 by Putman for his part in the ruse, followed by much smaller increments totalling £50,000.

    The scam began after Knibbs saw documents being printed containing details of big wins that had not yet been claimed while working late one night.

    Prosecutor James Keeley told the trial there was some trial and error in producing a successful forged ticket, with several different specimens made, each with one of the 100 different possible unique codes on the bottom.

    Knibbs had claimed Putman went to 29 different shops as the clock ticked down to claim the cash, providing a different ticket at each, before the right number was found. Keeley said Putman eventually submitted the correct code at a shop in High Wycombe, on 28 August 2009.

    Despite his multimillion-pound windfall, three years later in 2012 Putman was sentenced to nine months for benefit fraud after going on to claim £13,000 in housing and income support.

    His previous convictions also include the rape of a teenager in the early 1990s, for which he was sentenced to seven years.

    In 2016, the Gambling Commission fined Camelot £3m for breaching its operating licence regarding controlling databases, investigating prize claims and paying out prizes.

    The Crown Prosecution Service said it would “take steps to recover his fraudulently acquired winnings”.

    District crown prosecutor Tapashi Nadarajah said: “Edward Putman deceived the National Lottery operators with his ‘winning’ ticket, making him a millionaire; but his lies unravelled with the tragic death of his co-conspirator who he wasn’t prepared to share the money with.

    “We used accounts from Knibbs’s friends, as well as documented evidence on his phone and financial transactions, to build a compelling case against Putman. This was further strengthened by indisputable evidence provided by an expert in the scientific examination of questioned documents.

    “They found significant differences between the printing on genuine tickets and that on Putman’s ticket, concluding his ticket was not genuine.”

    Putman is due to be sentenced by the judge, Philip Grey.

    Edward Putnam conspired with Camelot insider to present counterfeit slip to claim prize