Essex: Woman, 90, warns others not to fall victim to prize scam
A 90-old-year woman who nearly fell prey to a prize scam has warned others to be aware.
The Colchester woman, who has asked not to be named, received a letter claiming she had won one of 6,000 cash prizes, ranging from £25 to £20,000.
To claim the prize she had to ring a premium rate number, costing £1.53 per minute, and listen for her ID code to find out how much she had won and how to claim it.
Although she suspected the letter was a scam she rang the number, only to find her “winning” ID code was not listed.
She then rang Essex Trading Standards to report the scam, having fortunately only racked up a £9 phone bill having been cautious about the prize to begin with.
The victim said: “I knew it was a scam, but I wanted to sort it out for my peace of mind. The claim line went through a long rigmarole – and I was paying for their spiel – only to be told that I was unsuccessful.
“I rang Trading Standards to warn them about the scam. They were very helpful and said if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
“I want to warn other people not to fall victim to these scams. There are so many about and some people end up losing so much money. You’ve got to be so wary of everything.”
Since reporting the scam the woman has received another letter from the same company, but she tore it up and threw it away straightaway.
Trading Standards has warned it deals with similar scams all year round, including fraudsters trying to pass themselves off as the National Lottery. Roger Walters, county councillor for Trading Standards, said: “Residents should never respond to mailings relating to prize draws, lotteries, or other products or services which requests personal information, or money for administration fees.
“Unfortunately we have dealt with cases where elderly people have lost money by repeatedly replying to such scams. I would ask neighbours, friends and families to watch out for neighbours or relatives who are receiving large amounts of this scam mail.”
For advice from Trading Standards call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506.