October 2011: 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 scampage on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.
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 visithttp://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov