York & North Yorkshire

Harrogate PO box used in lottery scam on Indian victims

Police in North Yorkshire are investigating an alleged fraud after victims in India were told they had won thousands of pounds, but were fleeced when they tried to claim their cash.

Victims were told their winnings were part of a BBC Lottery scheme based at a PO Box in Harrogate.

But when the so-called winners paid a sum into a bank account to secure their fortune, they heard nothing else.

Police, the BBC and lottery firm Camelot said the scheme was bogus.

North Yorkshire Police said they had received a number of e-mails over the last year from people in India complaining they had been duped into paying money into the scam.

Victims were told they had won cash, but needed to pay a sum up-front to secure their winnings.

High-profile performers

E-mails sent to the victims included BBC and Camelot logos and pictures of high-profile BBC performers including Terry Wogan.

Sgt Geoffrey Crocker, of North Yorkshire Police said the victims had believed the mails they received were genuine.

"In the case of this Indian scam they have got pictures of Terry Wogan and The One Show and the Camelot logo.

"To someone in India it looks quite genuine.

"If you showed that set of e-mails to someone in this country they would immediately realise there was something wrong.

"But I think if you lived in the Indian sub-continent you'd be hard-pushed to identify it's a scam."

In a statement the BBC said: "Our advice to anyone receiving such an e-mail pretending to be from the BBC is to not respond and delete it.

"If anyone is concerned that they may be victim of fraudulent activity they should contact the police and their bank."

Lottery organiser Camelot, said: "We are aware that there are many organisations that attempt to obtain payment or personal details electronically from people under a variety of pretexts.

"The National Lottery and indeed other lotteries are sometimes falsely used as part of these scams.

"We believe that some of these organisations are based overseas, often targeting people resident abroad.

"If any individual believes they are a victim of crime they should contact their local police."

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