A FYLDE pensioner was scammed out of her life savings by con artists who told her she had won a prize in a foreign lottery.
The 73-year-old grandmother parted with more than £7,000 after a man with an American accent phoned her, using her name and telling her she had won second prize in a US lottery.
The woman, who only wishes to be identified as Marjorie, was told she had won £210,000. But she then received two calls, one from a man claiming to work for the International American Duty tax department, telling her she would need to pay a one per cent duty – equivalent to £2,100 – to get the prize.
After sending the cheque she got another call to say a returnable cheque for £5,000 was needed to insure the delivery of the money.
The supposed winnings never arrived.
Marjorie, who had been told not to tell her family because it would breach a “confidentiality clause”, said: “I was devastated. I just couldn’t believe how I had been taken in.”
Police say the scam is part of an international sting and in the past two weeks there have been four victims in Lancashire.
Det Con Tony McClements, of Lancashire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “This type of scam is particularly deplorable as those who fall victim rapidly go from the elation of winning to total despair when they realise they have been duped.
“It is deliberately targeted at the elderly and the vulnerable so we all have a part to play in watching over elderly relatives or those who need our support.
“Remember that if it looks too good to be true it probably is.”