POLICE are urging people not to send off money or cheques in response to letters saying they have won cash prizes.

The warning follows an incident in which a woman in her 90s from Shrewsbury was conned into sending two cheques totalling £4,200 after being told she had won more than £200,000 on a prize draw.

But no prize was forthcoming and £4,200 was taken from her bank account when the cheques were cashed.

Sgt Mike Dulson, from the town centre police office in Shrewsbury, said: “The bottom line is, if you receive correspondence in the post or by email saying you have won a large sum of money or some other prize in a raffle, it's likely to be a scam.

“If you are asked to forward cash to enable you to receive your 'prize', the alarm bells should be ringing. Under no circumstances should you forward money to receive a prize.

“If it sounds too good to be true, then almost certainly it will be.

“Be aware and don't be tempted to send off a cheque or money and never disclose your personal bank details.”

Sgt Dulson said fraudsters were preying on the elderly, who were the most vulnerable to such scams.

“I've come across instances like this before where the letter can look very convincing. However, if you are being asked to part with money or give your bank details, then throw it in the bin.”

In the latest incident, the woman in Shrewsbury was both telephoned and written to saying she had won more than £200,000 in a prize draw company's big raffle.

She was initially asked to send a cheque for £2,100 to trigger payment, and was then persuaded to send another cheque after being told the first one had been filled out incorrectly.