Fraudsters are taking advantage of well-known lottery draws to trick people into handing over money and personal information, police have warned.

Victims have handed over almost £1 million to lottery fraudsters during the past seven months, reporting centre Action Fraud and City of London Police said.

Criminals have been contacting victims informing them they have won a lottery or prize draw but must pay an “advance fee” to receive their winnings.

The winnings are non-existent and criminals are attempting to steal the victim’s money or personal and financial information.

Temporary detective chief inspector Craig Mullish, from the City of London Police, said: “Criminals are experts at impersonating organisations and will mimic a number of well-known prize draws to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

“Remember, you can’t win a draw that you haven’t entered so if you’re contacted out of the blue claiming you’ve won a prize draw but can only access these winnings by paying an advance fee: stop and think as it’s likely to be a scam.

“This could protect you and your money.”

Action Fraud said it received 629 reports of lottery fraud between April and October 2021, with 89% of cases mentioning well-known prize draws.

Impersonation of People’s Postcode Lottery accounted for 49% of all reports.

Some 70% of victims were aged over 50, with those aged over 65 making up 40% of…

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