An elderly couple from Chesham were conned into handing over more than £25,000 in a fake lottery scam, police have warned. 

The pensioners, aged 76 and 77, were tricked into believing they had won an international lottery and would receive £4.2 million in return for paying a release fee. 

Following written and telephone correspondence from fraudsters responsible for the scam, the couple made several payments between September 23 and October 2 this year.

Investigating officer PC Carl Ludlam, based at Amersham Police Station, said: “This is a very unfortunate incident which has led to the couple being defrauded of a substantial amount of money.

“These types of scams have been emerging for some time and we would like to warn members of the public that they are still happening, and this recent incident is proof that people are still being misled into believing them to be authentic.

“I would like to reassure the public that this latest incident is being investigated thoroughly and warn them to remain vigilant against these types of scams.”

Thames Valley Police is urging residents to be vigilant of fake lottery scams and is warning people not to respond to any communications claiming they have won a lottery, sweepstake or prize draw. 

In 2014, there were 60 lottery-related scams reported to the force.

Prevention advice from Thames Valley Police: 

  • If you haven't entered a lottery, you can't have won it - do not respond to any communication claiming you have won money. 
  • Official lotteries in other countries operate in much the same way as the UK’s National Lotto. No known official lotteries contact people in this way to tell them of their win.
  • There are no known official lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings. Any request for a fee payment is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you.
  • Never disclose your bank details or pay fees in advance.

  • If they’ve provided an email address to respond to, be very suspicious of addresses such as or or numbers beginning with 07 because these are free to get hold of.

  • Many fraudulent lotteries have bad spelling and grammar. 

  • Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity. If they ask you to keep your win a secret it’s likely to be a fraud.