I did have another article half written for this week but then a letter arrived on Saturday, and I thought I just had to share my good fortune. Apparently, it was a draw that should have taken place much earlier in the year but, you know how things have been, and so it was delayed.
Have you noticed that even in the most official of letters the grammar and use of English is deteriorating? My letter reads as if it was written by someone whose first language was not English, but you get used to things like that these days. The message was clear enough.
The contact address on the letter is 22 Hanover Square, London. Now, many years ago, before I saw the light and headed north, I originated from a less posh part of London, and that address does look pretty impressive. Apparently, according to my Google search, it is one of the oldest squares in London and is undergoing substantial redevelopment at the moment. However, I assume they are getting their mail redirected while the building work is underway. I think Google must be wrong though because the website it took me to detailed the development as purely high class residences but there must be some offices built into it somewhere. You know, you cannot always rely on what you read on the internet.
Anyway, I did a search. These are the sort of searches we do regularly particularly when we want to find out more about a company. There are 8 companies listed under Hanover Square in London, but they are all listed as 3 and not 22 and none of them are the organisation that wrote to me. Then again, these searches are not infallible bearing in mind that they are used primarily to find companies that file accounts. I assume the organisation that wrote to me does not file accounts and must be a division of some other body.
I have a real letter and that must be more reliable than any website. Would you not agree?
The header in the letter is “International FIFA World Cup Online Lottery” and according to the letter the lottery is being promoted by the European Lottery, Loteria El Gordo and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which Wikipedia tells me is the largest bank in the southern hemisphere, so pretty reputable, wouldn’t you say. It is run in support of the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 390 million people took part which is pretty amazing. Getting such a lottery organised must take an incredible effort.
There is just one question in my mind. I have not bought a lottery ticket of any description for about 10 years. I took the view that if I was going to succeed, it was going to be by my own efforts and not a chance lottery win. It seems to me that this letter must have been sent to me in error. Therefore, I should not claim it. Wouldn’t that be stealing? Should I contact them to let them know about the error so that they can correct it.
After careful consideration, I think I’ll just shred it. You guessed it, I hope. This letter is a scam. If you get one or anything similar, do not call or respond.
I just picked up the following on Which.
Similar ‘FIFA lottery’ letters have recently been the subject of warnings by Action Fraud and Trading Standards. The likely aim is to dupe you into giving away your bank details, or to get you to make a cash payment in order to ‘release’ fictional winnings. In our member’s case, the details given in the letter didn’t stack up. The London address listed is currently a building site, and the developers of this site told us that they have no knowledge of an international lottery operating from it. The firm that the letter comes from isn’t even registered on Companies House, but bears the same name as a legitimate bank in Australia. When we called the claim line on the letter and said that we worked for Which?, the call handler said we had the ‘wrong number’ and subsequently became aggressive.
You have been warned!
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership