NATIONAL Police have put out a warning that a gang of scammers specialising in “classic” lottery ticket confidence tricks is operating in the province.
Victims are persuaded to hand over cash in the expectation of getting a larger amount of money in return. The alert came after two elderly women reported to Almeria police station they had been victims of a ruse, between them giving the con artists €18,500.
The first case was in El Ejido at the end of July. Police said a respectable looking young woman approached a lady in her seventies and told her she had won a substantial amount on the lottery. She claimed she did not want the money because the nuns where she lived would not allow her to keep it, but said if she found someone she could trust she was prepared to give them the prize in exchange for a smaller amount of cash.
At this point a man appeared and went with the victim and the hustler to a number of banks, the pair managing to get the pensioner to give them €6,500 and her jewellery.
In a similar case in Roquetas de Mar fraudsters got a 77-year old woman to believe they had winning lottery tickets worth €350,000, fooling her into handing over €12,000, her mobile phone and items of jewellery. On both occasions the victims discovered in the bags the scammers left them, not the large amounts of money they were expecting, but nothing more than packets of rice.
A police statement said they had identified the fraudsters, but their whereabouts are currently unknown. They also recommended the public to not trust anyone approaching them about supposed lottery wins or showing them a large amount of cash, and to report any incidents to the authorities.