Scams in the UK: How to Recognize scams, con men, fake lotteries and more in Great Britain

Scams and Frauds in the United Kingdom - How to Recognize Them and What To Do If You Receive One

You may receive a certified check for CASH!
One Lump sum! Tax free! Your odds to WIN are 1-6."

"Hundreds of U.K. citizens win every week using our secret system!
You can win as much as you want!"

UK National Lottery Scams

Sound great? It's a fraud.

Scam operators - often based in the Netherlands, Canada and Nigeria- are using the telephone and direct mail to entice U.K. (and other global) consumers to buy chances in high-stakes foreign lotteries from as far away as Australia and America.

Lotteries are a special target of the scammers. There are only two legal lotteries in Britain,

Neither uses email to notify winners - unless you have already purchased from them and signed up for email notification from them.

Examples of the lottery scam emails

See this page for more information about UK Lottery scams and real examples of scam emails.

Also note that there is no legal "UK online lottery" - see this page for a sample fraud email from the "UK Online Lottery" at The Marina Offices of St Peters Yacht Basin

All other lotteries, including foreign lotteries operating in Great Britain, are unlawful in the UK (except those provided for by the 1976 Lotteries and Amusements Act; meaning  the government run National Lottery). There are some exemptions for small charity-based lotteries, but there are explicit requirements for these and they do not email winners, either. See the legal guidance for small lotteries and the UK government paper Lotteries and the Law.

Other types of scams

While UK National Lottery scams are the most common scam going in the UK, it is certainly not the only one. Click on the links below for details of other types of scams specific to Great Britain.

How to report a scam in the UK

Of course, you can forward the email to us at CFR.  We will add it to the watch lists, publish it (without any information that identifies you) and forward it to the UK authorities if it is new.  You can also report it directly to the UK government yourself using the addresses below:

For lottery scams: call the hotline at 020 7211 8111

For scams in general - Consumer Direct 
Email to
Tel: 08454 04 05 06

For investment scams - Financial Services Authority
Tel: 0845 606 1234


How to recognise a scam is it too good to be true?

A scam is when people con you out of your cash. There are hundreds of types of scams fake lotteries and prize draws, incredible schemes to make money quickly, fake investment plans, work from home schemes the list goes on and on.

Download leaflet How to recognise a scam (pdf 411 kb)
Download poster (pdf 220 kb)
Listen out for our radio ad (515 kb) which you can download and play in mp3 format using Windows Media player or Real player.

The people who run these scams are clever and sophisticated and they know how to persuade us to part with our cash.

Most scams have some things in common check out this list and help yourself to be on guard against scammers


How scam artists succeed they will:

  • catch you unawares, contacting you, without you asking them to, by phone, email, post or sometimes in person
  • sound pleasant, well spoken and kind (on the phone or at your door) and want you to think they're your friend
  • have slick, professional leaflets and letters
  • be persistent and persuasive
  • rush you into making a decision
  • ask you to send money before you receive their tempting offer or win.

New scams from the UK and overseas appear every day so it's important to know how to spot them.


They offer you something for nothing such as:

  • you've won a prize in a draw or a lottery (even though you haven't entered one)
  • an exclusive entry to a scheme that's a surefire way to make money
  • a way to earn easy money by helping them get untold millions out of their country
  • the chance to join an investment scheme that will make you huge amounts of money; and so on.

There are hundreds of examples but we can all protect ourselves by being skeptical. Is it likely that someone you don't know, who has contacted you out of the blue, will give you something for nothing?


They'll ask you to:

  • send money up front − an administration fee or tax, the list is endless but its always a ruse to get you to give them money
  • give them your bank details or other personal details
  • ring a premium rate number (all UK premium rate numbers start with 090)
  • buy something to get your prize.

They will lie to you and give you what seem to be good reasons why you should do what they say. They will answer all your objections.

Don't send any money or give any personal details to anyone until you've checked them out and talked to a professional or family and friends.
If they ask you to do any of these things they're trying to cover their tracks and get your money and it's likely to be a scam.

Other things to look out for

  •  they ask you to send money straight away
  • they give you a PO box number as their address
  • they ask you not to tell anyone about the deal.

Use the links on the right to find out about some of the most common scams, and how to report any scams you come across.

Detailed Information About Particular Scams


Legitimate Lotteries

Legitimate lotteries in most countries, like NZ (eg, Lotto) have to be licensed to operate.  In most countries, online lotteries are illegal!

Names of Scam / Fake / Fraud Lottery 

Click here for the huge list of the names of the currently identified lottery scams companies


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