A WORLD-WIDE lottery scam is using Strabane Euromillions winner Margaret Loughrey’s name in an attempt to con people out of money.
It is just over five weeks since Ms Loughrey hit the £27 million jackpot to become the North’s biggest ever lottery winner.
After waiving anonymity to speak about her good fortune, the 48-year-old said the money would be used to change many lives for the better.
It has now emerged though that her generosity is being exploited by heartless cyber-criminals who have set up a scam in her name.
Via emails sent out across the globe, the online thieves claim that Ms Loughrey has decided to give away $1 million US dollars from “my charitable organisational group, discovered by me”.
In broken English, they go on to ask for details including full name, age, phone number and other information. They also provide a link to news reports of the jackpot win before signing the correspondence, “Sincerely, President Margaret Loughrey”.
The scam first came to light via the website bittenus.com, set up specifically to highlight scammers and their crimes.
A spokesperson for the site said that in the type of fraud set up in Ms Loughrey’s name, once a person’s details are forwarded they are then hounded via email, telephone and post to hand over money.
This is done under the auspices that a major jackpot is waiting to be claimed, usually in Nigeria where such ‘Advanced Fee Fraud’ scams have become “an industry”.
The www.bittenus.com spokesperson said that while such scams were nothing new, people should still be wary of them.
“In most cases the scammers ask for personal information and in a few cases they will try identity theft,” they explained.
“If you have given them your bank account number, you should contact your bank immediately for advice.
“I advise victims to stop all contact with the scammers. They will try to contact you again, but if you ignore them completely, they will stop contacting you sooner or later.
“Lottery scams have existed long before email was invented, but email has made it possible for the scammers to reach many more victims at little or no cost and only a tiny bit of effort,” a spokesperson said.