Australian Lottery Scam
In the last couple of days (as at 01/07/2004) we have been made aware that a lottery scam is being operated in our name.
The perpetrators have stolen the main graphic from our site and used it as a letter heading.
Their letter claims you have won US$375,000 on the Australian Powerball, and is normally signed by 'Stephen Fantischner', although other names are also mentioned. It also encloses a cheque for around $3,500, and requests you contact a provided phone number.
If you contact the number, they will ask you to deposit the cheque first, then contact them again. If the cheque slips through the banks anti-fraud systems, then obviously 'it must be real'. So when they ask you to pay thousands of dollars to them as a 'processing fee', it will all seem fine. Of course, when the bank spots the dodgy cheque later and debits your account again, things won't look quite so rosy any more.
The number is a cell phone - a number of different ones are used, so far all provided by Canadian cell phone company Microcell (now Rogers). The address provided, 37 Nelson Street, is for a (presumably innocent) medical equipment supply company in Australia. The letters are posted within Canada.
Needless to say, do not contact the number and do not provide these people with any personal information.
What Can I Do To Stop These People?
Glad you asked!
 Contact your local law enforcement agency, who should then contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada.
 Contact the 'Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre'. We have already logged this lottery scam with them. They have provided this Toll Free number: 1-888-495-8501.
 Microcell (the providers of all the cell phone numbers used so far) have a Fraud and Security Dept. They have sadly so far been unwilling to take any interest without police intervention. But feel free to encourage them to actually investigate, and perhaps even cancel phone numbers known to be used for this scam.
To check if the number on your letter is provided by Microcell/Rogers, you can do a reverse number lookup here. It might not tell you who owns the number, but it will tell you who supplies it.
Sylvie Gill at Microcell is aware of this lottery scam and can be reached at:
Tel: (514) 925-8000
Fax: (514) 846-7474
Sorry if all this is a disappointment to you - but as ever, if you receive a notification that you have won anything in a lottery you didn't enter, it's a scam. Never, never pay a 'processing fee' or provide your bank details to receive a prize. Genuine lotteries do not ask you to pay them before they pay you.
Right, Enough About Lottery Scammers!
Back to real ways to win the lottery.
Leaving the Australian lottery scam behind, what we all really want is a genuine better way to play the lottery. And that does exist, with no stupid claims or ridiculous promises. Start right here with our list of the best national lottery syndicates.