Happy win or just a scam?

22 January 2010

SCAMwatch has received reports from nearly a hundred consumers who received unsolicited letters, some even with a Christmas theme envelope, containing an attractive brochure promoting a company called Euphoria Travelling Group (www.euphoria-my.com) and two scratchie cards. Examples of the Christmas theme envelopes, brochure and scratchies are attached below.

SCAMwatch understands that the two enclosed scratchie cards sent to various recipients reveal the same results. One card will deliver the second prize 'winning' of US$150,000 and the other card will not contain any winnings.

To claim the 'prize', recipients are required to contact Euphoria Travelling Group1 using the contact details printed on the back of the card. When contact is made, the scammer insists the recipient needs to pay a variety of fees—sometimes totalling over $3,000—in order to have the prize money paid. The reasons provided by the scammer for these fees have included:

  • obtaining an ‘authorisation certificate’ from the ‘Lottery Tax Office’
  • a processing fee to the Hong Kong government
  • obtaining a ‘clearance certificate’ (a government fee)
  • various taxes
  • acquiring a client number needed to claim the ‘winnings’
  • legal costs.

In some cases, scammers have sent a ‘letter of guarantee’ to convince recipients that they will receive the prize money shortly after various fees are paid. A copy of the letter of guarantee is attached below.

In addition to requesting various fees be paid, scammers have also requested recipients to provide a range of personal details and account information including:

  • passport details
  • bank account details
  • signature (to be provided on the back of the ‘winning’ ticket)
  • date of birth
  • scanned copy of their drivers license
  • scanned copy of their Medicare card.

If you have received any scratchie cards in the mail which seem like they have come from Euphoria Travelling Group, you should not respond, even if you think you have won. Don’t give out your personal details or account information as scammers can use it to commit identity fraud.

The Department of Commerce (WA) issued a warning about a similar unsolicited mailout scam targeting Western Australian consumers earlier this year by the Malaysia Starize Travelling Group.

Protect yourself

Minimise the risk of identity theft

  • NEVER send money or give personal details to people you don’t know and trust.
  • Always get independent advice if you are unsure whether an offer or request is genuine.
  • Shred all documents containing personal information, such as credit card applications and bank statements.
  • Regularly check your credit card and/or bank statements to ensure that suspicious transactions are detected.

Fake prizes

  • Be suspicious of any unexpected prizes received via unsolicited letters, emails or telemarketing.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Do your homework. Search the company’s name on the internet, you may find some useful information.
  • Ask yourself: if I have won so much money why don't they take the money from my winnings?
  • Tell your family and friends about this scam, especially if English is not their first language.

Report

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

More information

Euphoria Travelling Group brochure

The two scratchies

Christmas theme envelopes

‘Letter of guarantee’

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

 

1 Recipients are provided with a telephone number (+60-12904 1985) and a website address (www.euphoria-my.com) stated at the back of the scratch card. According to Euphoria Travelling Group’s website, they claim to have several offices located all across Asia, however the head office appears to operate from Malaysia (No.88, Bangunan Yayasan, Jalan Bukit Bintang 55100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).

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