'Lottery' scammers target pensioner

John Alderman (85) holds some of the scam mail he gets daily in his South Dunedin letterbox....
John Alderman (85) holds some of the scam mail he gets daily in his South Dunedin letterbox. Photo by Craig Baxter.

A pensioner frustrated with his daily delivery of mail declaring lottery wins wants to warn others of the scams.

John Alderman, of South Dunedin, said in the past three weeks he had been sent 55 letters from scammers.

''I got four yesterday.''

The letters promise prizes of up to $100,000.

But to claim the winning cheque the recipient is told to send a $75 administration fee to companies in Malaysia, the Netherlands, the United States or Australia.

Most of the letters were sent from Auckland company Chel - a business not registered with the New Zealand Companies Office.

The scam letters had been arriving since Christmas and Mr Alderman's repeated requests for companies to stop sending letters were in vain, he said.

He visited New Zealand Post yesterday to ask how to stop the mail onslaught.

Dunedin Delivery Leader Lyz Harvey said ''regrettably'' postal operators could not intercept scam mail because the Postal Services Act required them to deliver addressed mail.

''If you get a letter like this, throw it away and hopefully over time they'll get the message that they're wasting their time,'' Mrs Harvey said.

Age Concern Otago chief executive Susan Davidson said it was ''mind-boggling'' how many scammers targeted pensioners in Otago. The family of a scammed pensioner had sought her advice.

Ms Davidson said people who wanted less marketing material in their letterbox could put their name on the Marketing Association ''do not mail'' list.

A Marketing Association spokeswoman said ''reputable'' marketing companies subscribed to the list to ensure marketing material was not delivered to listed people.

However, she doubted the companies targeting Mr Alderman would be subscribers.

Don't be swindled

Never send any money following an unexpected prize or lottery win.
Do not call any numbers given to check if a lottery or competition is genuine.
Be cautious about giving out your personal details, bank details, mobile phone numbers or email address.
Do not open junk emails or click on their contents. Just delete them. Do not click to unsubscribe.
Ignore unsolicited texts or missed calls from unknown sources.
Be wary of unsolicited approaches from psychics.
Source: Ministry of Consumer Affairs

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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