Scam Alert: No, you haven’t won US$175,000

Last week I received a letter from Malaysia. It was a personally, (if somewhat erratically), addressed A5-sized envelope and contained a glossy travel brochure and two scratch-and-win cards, one of which showed I’d won the 2nd prize of US$175,000.

Several things alerted me immediately:

  • The envelope’s stamps looked like they’d been stuck on by hand.


  • Likewise the address label appeared to have been cut out with scissors and pasted on.


For this sort of promotion, thousands or even tens of thousands of these things would have been sent out. And they buy stamps? Then manually cut and paste addresses labels …?

What’s more:

  • I’ve never had any dealings with any Malaysian travel companies.
  • The travel brochure was poorly written. Eg. “Awesome place to go and see that is what we all agree”
  • The brochure mentioned no trips and no prices. When did you ever receive unsolicited correspondence that didn’t offer you any sort of deal?

Still curious, I checked out their website,

Again, this “travel agency” has no actual trips. Click on one of the links and you get a graphic image of scanned itinerary – but no dates and no prices. And even more curiously, there’s no mention of the promotion. They’re giving away more than US$1 miilion dollars in prizes and they don’t make a fuss about it? Very odd …

So what’s going on?

How the scam works

A quick internet search found this on Scam Detector:

Malaysian Lottery Brochure Fake

The winners are informed there is a $7,000 government tax to pay before the proceeds can be released and the travel company will pay half. The recipient just has to send the other half by wire transfer, to Malaysia or Hong Kong.

The publishers of the brochure require the winners to provide a copy of their passport for authentication, along with bank account details. As you can imagine, the “winners” … are [left] waiting in vain to get their money after that, as there is no prize.

Then there’s this very similar brochure from Noss Holidays on the Department of Internal Affairs Postal Scams website:

Needless to say, I won’t be claiming my prize.

Ah well, easy come, easy go. (And if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!)


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