SCAMwatch is warning consumers to be wary of telemarketing calls informing recipients that they have won a 'free' holiday.

The pre-recorded voice message instructs the recipient to 'dial 9' to claim their prize. Once this is done, the recipient is connected to an operator who then 'sells' the holiday package.

The operator will then request credit card details and/or payments. The recipient is usually charged $598 for taxes and associated fees to claim the 'free' prize.

The operator may even 'reassure' the recipient that the money paid will be 'fully refundable' for a specified period of time. Once money is paid, SCAMwatch understands that consumers have found it difficult to obtain a refund.

SCAMwatch understands that some consumers don't receive the promised holiday package even after paying fees and taxes as requested by the operator.

However, many other consumers who received their holiday packages were disappointed to find that the actual holiday did not match the description provided by the operator or important terms and conditions had not been explained to them. This may include conditions such as attending a marketing presentation during the holiday and/or travelling to the travel agent’s office to pick up hotel vouchers prior to checking into each hotel, which can mean expensive taxi fares.

It is important not to give out personal details, such as credit cards and banking accounts, and pay money to people you don't know and trust.

Warning signs

  • It sounds too good to be true.
  • You receive a telemarketing call with a pre-recorded/automated message.
  • You need to provide personal details or pay money to claim your 'free' prize.
  • You have to dial 9 to redeem your prize.
  • You have to call a number usually starting with 19. These premium rate calls can be very expensive.

Protect yourself

  • Use your common sense: the offer may be a scam.
  • Do not send any money or pay any fees to claim a prize.
  • Be careful of phone numbers beginning with 190. These are charged at a premium rate and can be very expensive.
  • Read all the terms and conditions of any offer very carefully: claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs.
  • If a telemarketer claims to be calling on behalf of a business you have an account with, call the business yourself to confirm this is true before giving out any personal details


Report the matter on the report a scam page in SCAMwatch.

More information

Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about lottery, sweepstakes and competition scams, including fake prizes, and how you can protect yourself.

Back to the SCAMwatch radar.

The ACCC and the Australian Communications and Media Authority have issued a joint media release on phone scams.

Read more

Travel prize scams are attempts to trick you into parting with your money to claim a ‘reward’ such as a free or discounted holiday.