A WOMAN has revealed that she was scammed into giving £2,400 to fraudsters posing as lotto winners.
Clare O’Connor, 50, from Kent believed she was being given £100,000 by EuroMillions winners Jess and Joe Thwaite, which she intended to use to help her mum pay her bills amid the cost of living crisis.
The Thwaites became well known to the public after winning the record-breaking £184m jackpot in May.
However, Clare’s suspicions were raised when the con artists kept asking for payments to release the supposed gift from a cryptocurrency wallet.
She handed over two grand before deciding that something was not right and reporting the scam to the police and Action Fraud, on the advice of a friend.
Clare said: “I just wanted to help my mum out and pay for the bills.
“She’s a pensioner and needed help with the cost of living at the moment – I needed to sort myself out too.”
She first made contact with the imposters through a Facebook group that they had set up to entice unknowing victims, called the “Joe Jess Thwaite Help Foundation”.
Most read in News
After reaching out to them on Facebook Messenger, the fraudsters quickly replied offering £100,000.
They told Clare to set up a cryptocurrency account on a site called cryptofxinvesting and to deposit at least £300 to set up the currency wallet.
The £100k sum soon appeared in the wallet but every time she attempted to withdraw it, she was met by requests for increasing sums to access the account.
In desperation she messaged the fake Joe Thwaite who said he needed her to buy a £50 gift card to help, only to request another £100 later.
After another request on the bogus website, she realised she was being conned and contacted the authorities.
Fortunately her bank was able to refund the amount deposited online, but she says her credit card company Zopa told her that, as she made the other transactions herself, she could not be refunded.
She adds that she has had no response from the police or Action Fraud and that the fraudulent account still seems active online.
“I want to warn other people because at the end of the day this has left me feeling violated – I want them found and caught,” she concluded.
A statement from Zopa said: “We are saddened to hear about new financial scams, especially those involving our customers such as Ms Clare O’Connor.
Most read in The Sun
“We are glad that fraud scams such as these are getting widespread coverage and urge people to take seriously fraud warnings that they receive from their banks when making transactions or that they see online relating to companies that they are considering using.
“We also urge customers to research as thoroughly as possible any investment opportunity or other financial scheme that they see advertised.”
Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, confirmed that Clare had contacted them and said the case “is currently being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.”