Prize and Lottery Scams

Dont be lured by a surprise win - only the scammer takes home a windfall.

How the scam works

These scams try to trick you into giving money upfront or your personal details in order to receive a prize from a lottery, sweepstake or competition that you never entered. Scammers claim that you need to pay fees or taxes before your 'winnings' or prize can be released. You may also have to call or send a text to a premium rate phone number to claim your prize.

Scratchie scams involve getting mail containing glossy brochures and a number of scratchie cards, one of which will be a winner. To make it more believable, it will often be second or third prize. When you call to claim your prize, the scammers will ask for fees or taxes to be paid before you can get your winnings.

Lottery scams may use the names of real overseas lotteries to claim that youve won cash, even though you never entered into them. Scammers normally ask for fees or taxes to release the funds. They will also tell you they need your personal details to prove you are the correct winner but then use this information to steal your identity or money from your bank account.

Fake vouchers and gift cards involve scammers sending you an email or text message or a social media message claiming you have won a gift card for a well-known retailer but you need to provide some details before you can claim it. This is an attempt to get personal information which can be used for identity theft or to target you with another scam. Offers like these have also been known to deliver ransomware on your device.

Travel prize scams involve scammers claiming youve won a free holiday or airfares. In fact, what youve actually won is the chance to buy accommodation or flight vouchers. These travel vouchers often have hidden fees and conditions, or may be fake and worthless. Similarly, scammers may offer you amazing discounted holiday packages that just dont exist.

Protect yourself

  • Remember: you cannot win money in a lottery or competition unless you entered.
  • Competitions and lotteries do not require you to pay a fee to collect winnings - conduct a search online using the exact wording of the offer. It may help confirm that its a scam.
  • Think twice before calling or text messaging a phone number starting with '19' - they are charged at premium rates.

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