Trading Standards returns money to Bucks scam victims

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards officers are returning thousands of pounds to residents who were defrauded by an international lottery scam.

In a landmark investigation, the National Trading Standards Team hosted by Surrey County Council, working with the United States Federal Trade Commission, identified US-based fraudsters who targeted UK households with scam mail offering alleged cash wins and claiming ‘guaranteed’ cash prize pay-outs.

The Kansas based crime gang deliberately targeted older people living alone or those with long-term health conditions, sending deceptive personalised mail to individuals in the so-called ‘Next Gen’ sweepstakes scheme. They enticed victims into paying an upfront fee ranging from £25 to £40 and many paid the fee several times before realising there was no prize.

Following action taken by the US Federal Trade Commission, a Federal Judge ordered that $25 million of forfeited cash and assets be made available to compensate victims around the world.

Trading Standards officers have identified and contacted 11 Buckinghamshire residents who were affected by the scam, all of whom will have their defrauded money returned. The amounts being reimbursed to victims in Buckinghamshire vary between £31 and £678, with £1,525 being returned to Buckinghamshire residents in total. Over £6,600 is being returned to 32 Surrey residents. Officers are also advising those who have been affected on how to identify scams and stay safe in future.

Mark Winn, Cabinet Member for Homelessness and Regulatory Services at Buckinghamshire Council, said:

“This is great news that our Trading Standards officers have been able to return money to people in Buckinghamshire who have fallen victim to this scam. This is a result of National Trading Standards and the Federal Trade Commission working together to investigate this international scam.

“With the current cost of living crisis, our Trading Standards officers are seeing more instances of fraud and scams, so I would remind residents and local businesses to be extra vigilant and always think twice before responding to unsolicited mail, telephone calls, emails or in-person cold callers and if you are at all suspicious, never be afraid to say no, hit delete or put the phone down.”

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards offer a range of free resources to help prevent fraud. If you would like a free no cold calling or scams sticker pack or enquiring about a free call blocker device, please contact 0300 123 2329 or email

If you think you have been a victim of fraud, you should report it to your bank and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. For advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

To stay up to date on the latest scam information you can follow Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to their fortnightly TS Alert newsletter.

People can also protect themselves by attending one of their monthly Friends Against Scams webinars.


For the full national press release, please see here.