SCAMwatch is advising Australians to ignore recent lottery scam letters requesting $25, credit card details, or payment by cheque in return for a false $15,000 windfall.
How the scam works:
You receive a letter in the mail claiming that you have won an amount of money in a lottery you never entered, or asking you to enter. Recent reports show that the false winnings are commonly $15,000 or $25,000.
- The letter will ask for an initial payment, commonly of $25, in order to claim the winnings or to enter. It may ask for credit card details or payment by cheque.
- The letter may look official and may contain forms to be returned along with the initial payment via an enclosed prepaid envelope.
- The letter may mention an international organisation based in the USA and provide postal address details for this organisation. These organisations often disappear and morph into others.
- If you receive an unsolicited letter about a lottery you never entered destroy it. Never write back as this may lead to more scam letters being sent to you. Never send any money, personal or financial details.
- If you aren’t sure whether a letter is authentic, do an internet search using wording from the letter. Many well-known scams can be found this way.
- If you think you have provided your banking or credit card details or sent a cheque to a scammer contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.
See our lottery and competition scams section for more information. SCAMwatch has also previously issued radars on lottery and fake prize scams:
- January 2011: Won a new car in promotion you didn't enter?
- September 2009: It’s not all Pink and rosy—celebrity scams on the rise!
- August 2009: Grand Sands Casino fake prize SMS scam!
- January 2008: Fake Australian lottery causes confusion overseas
Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov.