Beware of travel scratchie scams

The Commerce Commission is warning the public to be wary of two travel scratchie scams being run from Malaysia and appearing in New Zealanders’ letterboxes. The scratchies entice people to pay fees to release a prize which consumers say they never get.

The scratchies being distributed by Madly In Love Holiday and Get It On Holiday advertising their ‘13thAnniversary’ are the latest iterations of this on-going scam. It involves glossy travel brochures which are professionally printed. The brochures state that large prizes are up for grabs in the two scratchie cards enclosed. One of the scratchie cards almost always reveals that the consumer has won a large amount of money, such as $190,000 US dollars.

Consumers who try to claim their prizes have been told that a large payment is required to be paid through Western Union or bank transfer to pay obligatory taxes or fees before the money can be released. Upon payment they have been reassured their prize will be released to them. However, we are unaware of any consumers receiving their prize.

Competition General Manager Antonia Horrocks says the Malaysian travel scratchie cards are a scam commonly observed in New Zealand, with new versions frequently appearing and being reported to authorities.

“If you receive unsolicited travel brochures and scratchies from Madly In Love Holiday and Get It On Holiday, we recommend you ignore this correspondence and do not send money.”

“Scammers rely on some people believing the prize is genuine and then sending money – which is why the scam keeps continuing,” she said.

In 2015 the Commission warned of other Malaysian scratchie scams called Blazing Whale and November Rain. The Department of Internal Affairs has registered around 150 different ‘travel agency’ names to date using this scam. You can see further examples here on their website.