TRADING Standards have released a warning about a new phone scam that promises lottery winnings.
Residents across Hampshire have been targeted by the con.
Fraudulent telemarketers are making unsolicited phone calls to people promising them ready cash in a lottery, sweepstake or even an insurance refund.
Seventeen incidents, including one in Denmead, have been reported in the past few months.
The fraudsters often pretend to be bank officials working for a government body, or lottery representatives, and try to convince consumers that their prize is genuine.
To ‘release’ their winnings, however, victims are told they must pay an upfront fee to allow the transaction to take place. In one incident an elderly lady was swindled out of money after receiving a call from someone claiming to be from the Ministry of Justice.
Leader of Hampshire County Council Cllr Ken Thornber said: ‘This is a new scam which often targets vulnerable residents.
‘In some cases elderly victims have been cheated out of hundreds of pounds as these cold callers can be so convincing with their stories.
‘It is important that everyone is sceptical about any unsolicited offers, refunds or prizes. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. A genuine government body or lottery operator would never ask someone to pay taxes, insurance or any other fee before receiving their “winnings”.’