Conmen hit OAPs with 'Spanish lottery' scam

PUBLISHED: 01:01 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:53 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH'S elderly are being duped into giving out personal information and bank details to Nigerian con artists intent on ripping them off. The latest scam to hit pensioners is a letter from Madrid, promising a multi-million pound Spanish lottery pay-out

EXMOUTH'S elderly are being duped into giving out personal information and bank details to Nigerian con artists intent on ripping them off.The latest scam to hit pensioners is a letter from Madrid, promising a multi-million pound Spanish lottery pay-out - but the winner has to first release personal information.The letter, from Elgordo Loteria Primitiva prize award department - with a second letter asking for personal details from the Grupo Eulen Security Company - claims the addressee has won more than £3million.But the "prize" is nothing more than an elaborate scam run by a ring of Nigerians operating out of Spain and designed to steal your cash.Exmouth police are urging anyone who receives similar letters to throw them away.A Hulham Road family have been targeted three times by the fraudsters.A 55-year-old father of two, who wants to remain anonymous, said his 86-year-old mother almost became a victim of the con artists when she received a letter addressed to her husband, who had died in 2006 - claiming he had won a prize.The BT telephone engineer said: "Some old people might get taken in by this. Luckily, I opened the letter, otherwise my mum would have been worried about it."The letter tells victims to keep their award "top secret from public notice until your claim has been processed".The victim is asked to contact an agent or awards department, but the Journal understands that, once the "transfer process" begins, the "lucky" person is then informed of various delays in making payment.The scammers claim their only interest in the win is a 10 per cent charge of the total winnings.When the Journal rang the telephone number on the letter, the call was answered by a man with an African accent and who gave his name as Carlos Marino.He claimed to work on behalf of the security company and said the prize was genuine - he sounded offended when it was suggested the letter was a scam."There are lots of scams, but I am telling you this is not a scam," he said. "It's extremely real. I am positive. I know the prize is a huge amount of money."Exmouth police sergeant Julian Pezzani said the force had a dedicated unit to target fraudsters preying on the vulnerable.

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