By Kevin Duguid
GANGSTERS conned pensioners out of 80,000 by claiming they were working for the Canadian lottery.
A 91-year-old man from Edinburgh and an 84-year-old woman from East Lothian each lost around 40,000 after they were tricked by the fraudsters.
The crooks contacted their victims claiming to be agents from a Californian-based company called LottoXchange.
Police have now warned other members of the public not to get involved with the swindlers.
The pensioners had never entered the lottery, but they were told they had won a large prize.
Both were told they had won cash, but that to claim the money they would have to pay ‘taxes’ on the win.
The woman had the money available to pay the so-called taxes, but the man did not.
But the man was told the firm would help pay the fee, as long as it was repaid.
The woman was then contacted and asked to forward her ‘taxes’ to the other victim’s bank account, which she believed to be the company’s account.
The elderly man received the cash, and sent it off to yet another bank account, which he believed would unlock his lottery winnings.
But instead the money was sent to another victim in England.
Despite not receiving any winnings the elderly man continued to pay off the 40,000 he believed had been loaned by the company.
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “There have been a number of victims of this scam across the UK, with most people losing between 30,000 and 40,000.
“In effect, the victims have been laundering the cash before it was sent abroad, making it more difficult to recover.
“We are warning anyone who may be in contact with LottoXchange to avoid accepting any funds from the company, as they will be the proceeds of a previous fraud. Likewise, they should under no circumstances pay them any cash.
“Instead, they should break off contact immediately, and notify police.”