Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (298)

Richard Bruton

Question:

384 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the operation of mailshot schemes which lure people into parting with money by giving the misleading impression that they have been selected as a winner of a substantial prize; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that these draws appear to be operating legally from other EU states, and if he is taking any action either at national or EU level to outlaw such scams. [6847/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that complaints are received at the Garda bureau of fraud investigation from people who have received notifications from foreign jurisdictions to the effect that they have won substantial prizes in lottery draws.

The notifications will normally notify the recipient that a fee of €800 is required for taxation registration purposes and to process their claim. The Garda advises the public never to respond to such unsolicited correspondence. Inquiries conducted to date reveal that these "lotteries" are bogus. In cases where Irish people have paid over money, the complainant's details are forwarded to the relevant law enforcement authority responsible for the jurisdiction from which the bogus lottery correspondence emanated, for investigation.

In general, I should point out that, under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956, participation in lotteries other than those licensed by the State is illegal, and there is a restriction on the purchase of foreign lottery tickets.