A New South Wales woman was surprised this month to receive in the mail a letter from Malaysia, unsolicited, giving details of a holiday promotion and accompanied by two “scratch and win” scratchie cards – one of which delivered an amazing surprise.
After scratching the panel on one of the cards, the woman learned she had won second prize in a “12th Anniversary” promotion. The prize, according to the ticket, is USD 180,000, currently equivalent to AUD 237,500.
The envelope was posted on Malaysia Day, 16 September. A brochure inside, along with the scratchies, gives details of “Dreamweaver Holiday”, apparently based in Pahang, Malaysia.
“As one of the leading organization in the tourism industry, our objective has always been bringing our clients and guests a distinguished level of entertainment,” the brochure states, quoting a “speech by the board of directors”.
Details of the company’s complimentary lottery prizes say that there’s a first prize of USD 270,000, two second prizes of USD 180,000, three third prizes of USD 100,000, 14 fourth prizes of a five-day/four-night Star Cruise, 28 fifth prizes of an iPhone 6 Plus, and 36 sixth prizes of a PlayStation 4.
“Dreamweaver Holiday” gives a website and an address: 108, Third Floor, Wisma Bahir, Jalan Besar, 25000 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.
The address seems to be the same as that of Telekom Malaysia. Small print on the scratchie card says that winners of 1st to 3rd prizes “are obliged to provide required information for further verification. Prize winners may be obliged to submit taxes or any other mandatory charges as a result of the award”.
So has the woman won a fortune?
Before she rushes to collect it, she might be wise to read an article headed “Scratchie Scams” on the website of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The site says that these scams “ take the form of fake scratchie cards that promise some sort of prize, on the condition that the ‘winner’ pays a collection fee.”
In a section headed “How This Scam Works” the site continues:
Scratchie cards are sometimes used in promotions, lotteries or competitions, beckoning users to ‘scratch and win an instant prize’, for example travel or holidays.
While some scratchie cards may represent legitimate lotteries or competitions, you should be extremely suspicious of any scratchie card that requires a payment to claim a prize.
Scratchie scams will offer you an instant prize, but when you contact the trader to claim it, you will be asked to provide payment for various ‘fees’ via wire transfer or preloaded money card. The scammer may request bank details and photo identification. In some rare cases you may be asked to travel overseas to collect your winnings.
The scam package may include professional-looking brochures, which are designed to trick you into thinking the competition is legitimate. It may include contact details for a business overseas and a web address for a fraudulent but professional-looking website.
The up-front payment requested can be as high as a few thousand dollars. If you pay, you will not receive the prize, and you will never see your money again. If you provide your personal details, they may be used for further fraudulent activity such as identity crime.
According to the ACCC, 86% of such scams come through the mail, rather than via email, internet or phone. More details here:
The woman has decided in the meantime not to proceed with collecting her prize.
Written by Peter Needham