At the moment, BNZ’s Financial Crime team are seeing a spike in ‘Lottery’ Scams. There are a couple of variations of this scam which are detailed below.
The Scratch Card Lottery Scam
A pamphlet with a scratch card is received in the post saying you have won second place in a lottery (usually around USD$200k). The pamphlet asks the “winner” to contact a claims agent to receive their prize. They are told to keep everything secret, and usually states this is because there has been a mix up with who the winning tickets were sent to. The agent asks the “winner” to sign a non-disclosure agreement and then send funds overseas for reasons ranging from security deposits to name transfers to tax. The lottery does not exist. Please see the pictures for an example of these scratch cards.
Contacted through Facebook Messenger
A message is received through Facebook from a friend or family member. This person states that they paid a small sum of money overseas and in return received a large windfall (again usually around USD$200k), and they provide a link to a website showing your name is also on a list of winners. When you contact the agency, you are told to make a payment, usually for administration or tax purposes, before you can receive your winnings. In these cases, the friend or family member has actually had their account compromised and it is a scammer sending the messages.
Contacted via email or text
This is similar to the scenario above, except in this instance you receive an email or text directly from a company stating you have won a ballot or lottery. You are directed to a website with a list of “winners” and see your name on that list. Again, when you contact the agency you are advised to make a payment, for administration or tax purposes, before you receive your prize.
• 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’
• Consider the likelihood of having to pay money to receive a prize or lottery winnings
• If you have been sent an unusual message through Facebook, contact that person directly (by phone or in person)
• Ask yourself if you entered a lottery, lotteries can only be won if they’ve been entered.
If you suspect you have been caught up in a scam, even if you haven’t sent any money yet, contact BNZ on 0800 ASK BNZ (275 269) or +64 4 924 0499 as soon as possible