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Cumbria police warn of 'guaranteed cheque prize' scam
1:07pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
Cumbria police have urged caution over a scam in which people have been conned out of money in the promise that they will receive a large prize.
Officers said a letter is usually received from what appears to be a genuine mail order company which tells the addressee that they have won a large prize.
To claim the winnings they have to purchase items from the catalogue or send an administration fee. The small print states that they will discover that they've simply been given the opportunity to enter a sweepstake and they have only a very small chance of winning.
PCSO Paul Booth, said: "I have seen the impact this type of scam can have on victims and their families. We want people to be aware that these scams do exist and not to believe them; usually if it is too good to be true, then it is.
"It is the more vulnerable people in our communities who can fall fowl of these people and we ask that friends and families take an interest in their loved ones lives and encourage them not to become involved in anything of this nature."
Angela Jones, Cumbria County Council Trading Standards Manager, said: "These types of scams usually offer something that sounds attractive, but in reality doesn't exist. The letters are often accompanied by mail order catalogues, can look plausible - and usually come from overseas.
"The claims they make are completely bogus and this is just a dishonest attempt to trap vulnerable consumers into parting with their money. Anybody can be conned by the scammers, but it is usually the vulnerable who end up suffering the most from these types of scams."
Anyone who is concerned about the scam or believes a family member may be a victim should visit www.actionfraud.org.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
And police reminded people that they can reduce unwanted mail by registering for free with the Mailing Preference Service at mpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0845 703 4599.