Dapto man rumbles travel scratchie scam

James Penman immediately smelled a rat when he scratched second prize in a Malaysian travel company competition.

His $153,000 winnings were waiting for him at the end of the phone line, the scratch card said, but he wasn't buying that.

The 86-year-old Dapto man was perplexed when a glossy travel brochure and two "scratch and win" cards arrived in the mail, addressed directly to him.

They claimed to be from a company based in Kuala Lumpur called Standard Travelling.

Although filled with colourful generic images and claims the business had "an annual growth of 15 per cent a year," the document lacked any detail, only making vague mentions of holiday destinations.

"I just had a bit of a look at it and showed it to a few of my friends and they said, mate you should get rid of that," he said.

Out of curiosity he called the prize claim number but was unable to get through.

Friend Paul Brown took to the internet and discovered many others had come across identical scams.

After calling to claim their prize, winners were informed the travel company would pay half a $7000 government tax for the funds to be released; the recipient just had to pay the other half by wire transfer.

"Therein lies the scam," Mr Penman said.

"If they'd got in contact with me after money, they'd have been battling."

He is warning others not to be fooled by the well-designed brochure and the lure of a big cash prize.

"It looks pretty professional," he said.

"It looks quite authentic and that's where people get taken in because it looks really authentic."

Last year almost 2000 glossy travel brochures containing fake "scratchie" lottery tickets were intercepted by Australia Post, while a Geraldton man was fleeced out of $3500 by the scam.

The NSW Department of Fair Trading website advises people who receive an overseas lottery letter to ignore it.

"Never send money or personal information in response to these offers - there is almost no prospect of recovering money sent," the website states.

"Remember, if you didn't buy a ticket in the lottery, you can't win."

Visit fairtrading.nsw.gov.au for more information.

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