A warning has been issued by Merton’s Trading Standards Officers and the official operator of the El Gordo lottery, Loterías y Apuestas de Estado, after fraudsters using the name El Gordo targeted Merton residents.
Mailings are being sent to homes in the borough claiming they have won the Spanish lottery. In order to claim their ‘prize’ recipients are asked to provide their bank account details and told that 5-10 per cent of the winnings will be retained for costs. However the ‘winners’ are later contacted and asked for a various fees in order to release their alleged prize, and they never receive a penny.
Importantly this warning notes that Spanish lottery prizes are always free from taxes, and warns against sending any money to obtain a prize in the Spanish or El Gordo lottery.
Ian Murrell, Commercial and Trading Standards Manager said, “We recommend that you do not enter sweepstake contests unless they are run by a company you know. Be particularly cautious of foreign sweepstakes that ask for a fee in advance. There are some companies who legitimately operate sweepstakes but the number of scams is on the increase. Be suspicious if you are asked to send money in order to claim your prize. If it looks too good to be true it probably is.”
Notes to editors:
If you receive such material you can help the investigations of Loterías y Apuestas de Estado by sending a copy to the following address:
Loterías y Apuestas del Estado.
Legal Advice Service.
C/ Guzmán el Bueno nº 137
SpainFax number: 00 34 91 533 51 36.
020 8545 3327
Item no: 523/05