Sat, May 4, 11:25pm by Kevin Pitstock
The Australian government continues to warn people around the world about the fake lottery scams which claim to be associated with a non-existent Australian national lottery. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission recently pointed out once more that the central government does not operate an official state lottery.
Any email alerts purporting to represent an “Australian Lotto Lottery” are illegitimate. Despite warnings for over a year, Australian government websites note that people continue to get scammed. Targets of such hoaxes contact ScamWatch almost every day to check whether emails they received are legitimate. In 100% of the cases, they aren’t.
Some fake lotteries are easy to spot, because the spam sent out doesn’t look official. Other online documents sent to unwary people look quite official. Sometimes, this includes certificates and cyber documents which appear official-looking at first glance. In other instances, scammers have used the ‘australia.gov.au’ domain to create email addresses which look official, but are not. With one or two clever uses of graphical design skills, a fake lottery can look like it has official sanction.
The resultant phishing emails are sent to people anywhere in the world. Often, the further one lives from Australia, the more likely it is the scam might succeed. Ignorance of the gambling niche in Australia combines with hope in a potential windfall to create a convincing scam. Too often, the victims of these fake lottery scams are those who can least afford the loss of money. The elderly, the naive, and those unfamiliar with the Internet are those most often deceived by these shams.
A couple of warning signs should tip you off you’re being scammed. If you receive an email stating you won the lottery, but you don’t remember signing up, it’s a scam. If you receive an email saying you have lottery winnings, but need to provide money to pay for processing fees, this is a deception.
When someone contacts you to and says won a sweepstakes, a raffle, or a lotto, but they need your banking information in order to send you the prize amount, you’re being gulled. These are classic con games which should never receive a response. Instead, report these phishing attempts to ScamWatch, who can let the authorities know of what’s happened, while informing the public about a potentially new danger.
Those who want to learn more about fake lottery scams or identity theft should take a look at the Australian government’s Scamwatch website, which is a web address created as a public service. The site offers a resource to report suspicious activity or read about victim stories, so you aren’t scammed by the same people.
Citizens also have access to the “Scamwatch Radar” report, which provides a list of public service announcements about scamming attempts.
People are known to use all manner of underhanded methods to steal your money. These include pretending to run charities for the Boston Marathon victims, posing as foundations for puppies with no home, or pretending to be police units who want people to pay old fines. There’s no end to the depths people will sink when trying to take another person’s money, so have a healthy dose of scepticism about the emails you receive from unknown people.
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