In Travel Tips on Thursday 5th Oct, 2017

The dangerous travel scam Aussies are falling for

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This scam isn’t like the others. It comes as a glossy pamphlet in your mailbox that looks like a legitimate travel brochure from Malaysian tour company ‘Sweet Summer Tour’. Inside the brochure are two scratchies, handed out to promote the company’s 13-year anniversary. 

Usually, people will scratch the scratchies to reveal they’ve won second prize – a whopping US$190,000. The other scratchie will simply say “thank-you” – a tactic employed to most likely lull people into a false sense of security.

After this point it becomes a bit more obvious it’s a scam. When you call the company to claim your prize, the person on the other end of the line will demand you pay hundreds of dollars to collect the winnings, as well as provide personal details such as bank account numbers.

The ABC reports one woman, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted the company to collect her winnings and after she refused to provide her bank details, the person on the other end of the phone became aggressive.

After she asked them to cancel her prize, they continued to harass her for more than a month.

Scratchie scams have been circulating for some time, but they don’t show any signs of slowing down.

Last year in the ACT, ACT residents lost $29,305 to scratchie scams, and that number has risen to $41,731 in this year so far.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) scratchie scams have cost Aussies nearly $250,000 this year alone.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from falling victim to these particular scams:

  • Never give anyone your personal contact details such as your credit card, account details, personal documents or otherwise.
  • Do a search on the company and check for spelling, grammar and so on. A company with that much money will ensure these finer details are correct.
  • Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you do come across anything suspicious, contact your local police station or report the scam online with the ACCC.

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