Scam alert: UAACO prize reminder
A sophisticated mail scam is targeting victims by sending a final reminder for claiming a competition prize worth up to £20,000.
As is common with all competition prize scams, the recipient is not informed which competition they actually entered but nonetheless is asked to contact the company to validate their prize claim. At this point, they may be asked for personal details that could be used to drain their bank balances.
Letters are being sent out by 'Roger Davies' of UAACO, or the Unclaimed Awards Administration Central Office.
The supercilious name should be the first indication that there's something fishy about the letter.
Attention to detail
Unlike many other scam letters and emails Moneywise has seen, the fraudsters behind this particular scam, have paid great attention to detail.
A 09 premium-rate number is dished out as the contact method of choice but in a bid to appear legitimate, a note setting out the cost for calling the number is included.
The document also states reference numbers, a Ross-on-Wye company address, a PO BOX number and a bogus web address for wyevalleypromotions.com – the website does not actually exist, and, of course, anyone can set up a PO Box number.
The small print even includes an opt-out process should the recipient not wish "to receive further offers from us or other reputable companies". All the recipient need do, apparently, is to write a letter to 'Dept MPS, DEPT VC, UUACO, PO Box Ross-on-Wye, HR9 9WZ'.
Adding to the sophistication of the scam, the spelling and grammar of the letter is much better than most Moneywise has seen. But the claim form attached to the letter that has a perforation line has merely been printed.
This might seem like a trivial detail but a legitimate company would always pay the extra to have the document perforated. After all, it's in its interest that you send back whatever you're being asked for.
This scam isn't new by any means - it's been around in one form or another for years. But the scammers are incessant. They send the letters to the same recipients repeatedly. The date of the letter seen by Moneywise is 16 May 2014, and it makes reference to the previous one sent on 25 April.
So if you ever receive a letter from UAACO, put it straight in the bin. You haven't won anything but there's no telling what you could lose by contacting the scammers.