BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Crackdown on lottery scam
Lottery draw machine
Victims are told they have won the Canadian national lottery

A Canadian detective has travelled to Northern Ireland to help in the battle against a million pound lottery scam.

Sergeant Barry Elliot is due to meet Trading Standards officers and consumer advisers in Belfast on Tuesday to offer his experience of tackling Canadian lotttery scams.

Thousands of UK residents have already fallen victim to the fradulent schemes which promise winnings in return for administration or release fees.

Sergeant Elliot will be talking about how close co-operation between the United Kingdom and Canada is helping to tackle the problem.

He will also discuss PhoneBusters - a police scheme set up to target deceptive telemarketing scams.

Our advice is to treat these offers with extreme suspicion and consign this type of correspondence straight to the bin
David Livingstone
NI Trading Standards

In Northern Ireland, victims of the Canadian scam have been contacted by telephone or by letter by people claiming to be from lottery organisations.

They are told they have won a significant amount of money - usually around 120,000 to 130,000 Canadian dollars - but that cash advances are needed to pay government taxes before it can be released. No winnings exist.

One person from the province is believed to have lost 12,500 over a three-month period.

Police say that more people may have been duped by the fraudsters, but are too embarassed to come forward.

David Livingstone, head of NI's Trading Standards Service, said consumers had been increasingly targeted by these money making scams.

"The challenge for Trading Standards is to warn consumers not to be tempted when one of these 'too good to be true' offers drops through their letter box.

"Our advice is to treat these offers with extreme suspicion and consign this type of correspondence straight to the bin."

Colin Brown, director of co-regulation at the Office of Fair Trading, said millions of pounds had been lost in this scam.

"It is vital that we tackle the problem through continued cooperation and it remains a top priority for all involved in crime enforcement," he said.

"Sergeant Elliot's visit is a key part of that strategy to keep a high profile for the Canadian lottery scam and to share best practice with UK enforcement agencies."

Warning over lottery scam
16 Sep 03  |  Northern Ireland
Q&A: Avoiding the con artists
08 Oct 02  |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific