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Elderly couple conned out of thousands

PUBLISHED: 15:39 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:35 03 July 2010

AN elderly couple from Great Yarmouth have been conned out of their life savings after taking part in a lottery scam.

The couple, who are in their 80s, have lost thousands of pounds to the scam which is thought to be based in Spain.

AN elderly couple from Great Yarmouth have been conned out of their life savings after taking part in a lottery scam.

The couple, who are in their 80s, have lost thousands of pounds to the scam which is thought to be based in Spain.

After receiving a letter which told them they had won nearly 100,000 Euros the couple, believing the letter to be genuine, parted with their money to proceed with the claim.

The organisation that contacted them then claimed they had to pay tax on the winnings before the cheque could be issued. The victims paid several 'money grams' to various individuals in Madrid and were than asked to pay a further sum towards the finder's fee. At this point, having already parted with several thousand pounds, they could no longer afford to pursue the claim.

The couple then made further enquiries and contacted police and other agencies and realised they had fallen victim to a hoax.

Although the couple did not wish to be identified they were keen to warn others of the con. “They sounded very convincing and genuine, but now we haven't got enough money to bury ourselves.”

Police spokesman Jon Dack said: “This incident should serve as a warning to others not to fall victim to this type of scam. The people behind these hoaxes are highly professional and very convincing and can originate from anywhere in the world. It is also very easy to believe that the letters and prizes quoted are genuine. However, our advice to the public would be, if you haven't entered a competition then you are highly unlikely to have won anything without some catch being involved. If something sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.”

Senior Trading Standards officer Ann Jackson said: “We are aware of this type of scam, which is a persistent offence and can catch many people out. Our advice is to always ignore any unsolicited approach and to know that with genuine Spanish lottery winnings, there is no tax to be paid and no fees. Also you have to go to Spain to buy a genuine ticket.”

Anyone who has concerns about similar incidents should contact their local police station or Trading Standards for further advice.


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