POLICE are warning householders to beware of scam involving letters claiming the recipient has won almost £1 million.

Several families across the country have received letters telling them they have won an International FIFA World Cup online lottery.

But the recipients are told they will have to pay a fee to claim the money.

Now a nationwide alert has been issued to people living in Hampshire and other parts of the UK following an investigation by the Lancashire force. A police spokesman said a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator was among those who had received a letter from ‘Westpac Equity Holdings Ltd’ of Hanover Square, London.

He added: “The letter said she had won £900,000.00 and, (of course), she needs to send a fee so that the cheque can be sent out to her.

“There have been numerous complaints about this so-called lottery and an African man by the name of Michael Bell, who sometimes phones saying that he’s the ‘International Services Manager of Powerball Lottery’.

“If you get one of the letters - or a phone call from Mr Bell - just disregard it or put the phone down.

“Please let your Neighbourhood Watch members know about this scam too, so that they don’t get taken for a ride and end up paying the ‘fee’.”