Lottery scam in North Herts sparks police warning as residents conned out of thousands
PUBLISHED: 14:35 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:40 09 November 2017
Hertfordshire Constabulary has warned of a circulating lottery scam that has tricked several North Herts residents into losing thousands of pounds.
Victims in the area, which includes Hitchin, Letchworth and Royston, have reportedly been approached by a crook claiming to be an illegal immigrant who has won the lottery.
The offender states that they are unable to claim the lottery win due to their immigration status and asks the victim to claim it on their behalf, in return for a cut of the prize money.
They then ask for a surety from the victim, which is typically cash or high-value jewellery.
Five reports have been received so far with some victims losing up to £5,000.
The thefts are being investigated by Operation Manhunt, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist team that deals with distraction burglary and other crimes which target the elderly and vulnerable.
Detective Constable Kirsty Rusbridge said: “This is the first time we have seen this method being used in Hertfordshire and we want to get the message out to people to help prevent them from falling prey to these callous fraudsters.
“It has been reported that the offender often has an accomplice who poses as a member of the public, keen to take up the offer.
“If you are approached in similar circumstances, please don’t hand over any cash or belongings and contact police straight away.”
She asked residents to share the advice with neighbours and urged anyone with information to contact police via 101.