Trading Standards are warning Western Isles residents that there is currently a People’s Postcode Lottery scam letter circulating in the region.
The letter states that you hold the winning ticket in an international lottery, but in order to claim the substantial monetary prize you have to phone a telephone number and pay a processing fee to lottery “agents” based in London.
The letter advises you to keep your winning information confidential until your claim has been processed.
Trading Standards advise residents to bin the letter.
They offer the following guidance on checking if you think something is a scam:
It could be a scam if the call, letter, email or text has come out of the blue
You’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about and didn’t buy a ticket
You are asked to send money in advance
You are told you have to respond quickly so I don’t get time to think about it or talk to family and friends before you decide
You are told to keep it a secret.
A People’s Postcode Lottery spokesperson said: “People’s Postcode Lottery is aware that sometimes illegitimate individuals and organisations will attempt to use our lottery’s brand to gain access to information or details supplied by unsuspecting members of the public.
“People’s Postcode Lottery takes such matters very seriously. If you receive one of these letters, phone calls, SMS messages or emails, then we strongly advise the public to treat these communications as scams and they should be ignored.
“Legitimate lotteries, such as People’s Postcode Lottery, will not under any circumstances request a payment in order to receive your ‘winnings’.
“If you are at all suspicious, then contact our customer service team on 0808 1098 765. Thankfully incidences where the public is affected by an illegal lottery using the People’s Postcode Lottery brand are rare, but we would encourage anyone who has encountered a scam to report it to the national fraud reporting centre www.actionfraud.police.uk.
“To be clear — you cannot win a Lottery you haven’t entered. Also, if you are a winner, People’s Postcode Lottery would never ask for payment to claim a prize.”