August 2011: SCAMwatch and Carnival Australia are warning Australians to beware of a new spate of scam scratchie cards and travel brochures sent in the mail. Every package contains a ‘winning’ card but when you try to claim the fake prize you will be asked to wire transfer thousands.
The packages may fraudulently mention legitimate travel and holiday providers such as Princess Cruises (part of the Carnival Group).
How the scam works
In the current version of the scam Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory are being targeted, however other states may also receive the letters.
Packages commonly contain colourful travel brochures and two scratchie cards. One card will always be a winner. The most common ‘prize’ being a second prize of US $180,000.
If you call the number provided in the package, the scammer will ask for fees or taxes to be paid using a wire transfer service.
Fees for claiming the ‘prize’ are often in the thousands and if you pay, you will never receive your promised winnings or see your money again.
In some rare cases you may be asked to travel overseas to collect your winnings.
The scammer may also request bank details and copies or original photo identification.
The scam package may contain contact details for a company in Malaysia or Hong Kong and will also provide a web address for a fraudulent but professional-looking travel website.
Be suspicious of any unsolicited letters, emails or telephone calls offering an unexpected prize or cash win.
Ask yourself why you have to pay upfront money for a prize when the sum could be deducted from your winnings.
NEVER send money or give personal details to people who contact you out of the blue, and who you don’t know and trust.
Always get independent advice if you are unsure whether an offer or request is genuine.
Search the company’s name on the internet as many scams can be identified this way.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.