The murky world of Facebook raffles

The number of raffle groups on Facebook has grown rapidly over the last few years, but so have the number of people being scammed.

"It just makes me so angry. [The scammers] keep changing their names and Facebook just let them do it," says Maggie Hughes, who says at one stage she was a member of between 25 and 30 online raffle groups on the social media site.

Anyone can set up a raffle group on Facebook and then begin inviting contacts to join, although Facebook says it shuts down illegal raffle pages - those not licensed by the Gambling Commission - as soon as they are reported.

The page owners then choose a prize, and sell tickets - using PayPal or a bank transfer.

From then on, it works just like a normal raffle. A number is drawn at random and the winner earns a prize.

At least that is how it should work.

'Not receiving prizes'

Maggie became suspicious of one woman online when she says she won some prizes.

"I played her tombola [raffle] and I have not received any prizes from her at all," she says.

Maggie is disabled and her husband has dementia. She says the £40 to £50 she estimates she has lost is a lot of money to her.

"It's very hard, it just upsets me. It makes me angry that this girl is getting away with it."

The woman Maggie says she dealt with, Lauren Brattle, appears to have a number of online aliases.

Her raffles were among the many mentioned on a Facebook page that raises awareness of possible scams.

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