Police are warning the public to be wary of a new scam doing the rounds, after a woman lost tens of thousands of dollars after falling victim to a cruel lottery scam.
A statement released by Queensland Police confirmed that the scammers impersonated two of the victim’s closest friends and contacted the her via a direct messaging app to persuade her to participate in a lottery event. After tipping money into the event, the woman was informed that she had won a significant amount of money, however to claim her ‘winnings’ she needed to pay the necessary administration fees.
After making these payments the victim was then informed that she would need to make a further payment of $67,000 for Custom and Border Protection Fee in order to claim her prize. Police confirmed the woman did not pay this third fee. The woman contacted her friend through an alternative method of communication who later realised she had her identity stolen after a conversation with the alleged scammer .
“Having had contact with the victim it is clear that the scammers in this instance carefully chose who they would impersonate as both people selected have a close and strong relationship with the victim,” police said in a statement. “It is also clear that they have scrutinised the communication styles of the two people as extra effort was made to ensure that phrases and word selections were credible.”
Sadly lottery scams are not uncommon, with many people falling victim each year. According to Scamwatch: “Unexpected prize and lottery scams work by asking you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered.”
The organisation said the prize could be anything from a tropical holiday to electronic equipment such as a laptop or smartphone, or even money. Scamwatch said in most cases the scammer will take your payment and fail to deliver the prize, or send you something that falls short of the promised prize.
“If someone asks you to pay money up-front in order to receive a prize or winnings, it’s almost always a scam,” Scamwatch warned. “Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee to collect winnings.”
Read more: Aussie loses $160,000 in cruel Facebook scam
The warning comes after a man had been left over $150,00 out of pocket after falling victim to a cruel Facebook lottery scam last month.
After he was convinced he was the winner of the staggering amount of money, he was then asked to pay a fee to unlock the funds. This continued on for the next three years, with the man’s bank account slowly decreasing. Overall the man forked out around $160,000, seeing not even a cent of his apparent lottery winnings.