OAP loses £20,000 in Euros scam

A PENSIONER is more than £20,000 out of pocket today after he fell prey to a Spanish lottery scam.

A PENSIONER is more than £20,000 out of pocket today after he fell prey to a Spanish lottery scam.

The 75-year-old, who lives near Woodbridge, was duped into handing over thousands of Euros, believing he would receive a lottery prize in return.

The man, who does not wish to be identified, said he was “an idiot” to part with his money and warned others not to do the same.

He said the scam began when he received a letter in March stating he had won a proportion of a 615,000 Euro prize.

He said: “The letter looked very official and said I had to ring somebody and then the bank would get in touch with me.

“I had already bought tickets for a Spanish lottery and I thought it was something to do with that.

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“I had a call purporting to be from the bank in Spain and they asked me to send 2,520 Euros to release the payment which I did.

“I thought that would be the end of it but then they came back to me and asked for more money to cover Spanish taxes. I thought that was OK but I was probably being an idiot.”

The pensioner sent the cash but was then asked for even more money to prevent money laundering and terrorism.

He added: “Like an idiot I sent it thinking that would be the end of it but then he came back to me again and asked for 35,000 Euros to legalise documents and release the money.”

The man refused and asked the “bank” to refund his other payments but he has not yet received a penny. Altogether he has lost 33,030 Euros, the equivalent of £22,093.

Police are investigating and have issued a warning to the public to be aware of potential scams.

The victim also issued his own warning today and said: “If anyone gets a letter like this they should set light to it.

“Don't be taken in by anything that looks official.

“That money would have been useful. We could have used it to go on holiday or buy a new bathroom.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “Police are urging residents to be careful when responding to any unsolicited mail.

“Any offer that involves sending cash before receiving a prize should be treated with extreme caution.”

A spokesman for Suffolk trading standards said: “These letters are nothing more than a scam. You will never be asked to send money to release a legitimate lottery win.

“Don't be tricked into believing you have been specially selected to win. If in doubt - bin it.”

Anyone who wants further advice should contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.consumerdirect.org.uk

WEBLINKS: www.suffolk.police.uk; www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/suffolk

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