real life

Belinda and Luke opened their mail. Apparently, they had won $190,000.

When Belinda Wrigley and her husband Luke first spotted the Malaysian stamp on the far corner of a letter that arrived in the mail, their interest piqued.

“My husband actually received the letter in the mail. We knew straight away something was suss when the envelope had so many stamps on it and it was sent from Malaysia,” she tells Mamamia.

Inside the letter was a brochure from a travel company called Sweet Summer Tour, neatly packaged beside a couple of scratchies.

Image: Supplied.

"We opened it up, and suspected it was a scam when we saw the scratchies. We had never received or seen anything like this before but we are wary of scams so as soon as we scratched one and "won" US$190,000 we knew that it was definitely a scam. We were hopeful, I mean who doesn't want money for nothing?"

While the couple were sceptical from the start, the level of effort the company had gone to was quite astounding. The brochure was glossy, the scratchies - on appearance - looked legitimate and the prize, well, one you'd love to believe was true.

"But we knew it wasn't real. We were pretty impressed with the effort that the company went to with the brochure and scratchies, especially just to scam people so we looked into it online. We noticed that the pictures on the website had only been uploaded four days earlier."

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Image: Supplied.

Despite the fact Belinda and Luke didn't fall for what they came to recognise as a scam, they weren't certain others would be so lucky. These days, most scams sit in the far corners of the internet, not sitting patiently in the letterbox of the home we live in.

"I then took a photo of them and decided to upload it onto the Ryde District mum's group on Facebook so that others can become aware of the scam. While we knew it wasn't one from the beginning, others aren't as aware."

News Corp report that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning Australians of the travel scratchie scam. At best, the ACCC say, some are being harassed with phone calls and manipulation for weeks. However, at worst, the scams ask consumers to send "hundreds" of dollars - and bank account details - in return for "winnings".

They warn consumers that scams of this nature will often feature two scratchies; one claiming to offer "winnings" and another reading "thank you".