Dream Sea Holiday Scratch-it Scam

Dream Sea Holiday Scratch-it Scam

Be aware of the Dream Sea Holiday Scratch-it scam. You will receive an envelop pack in the mail including two scratch-it tickets! It’s a scam! No you didn’t win all that money! This is one for A Current Affair! And a lesson in life!

This isn’t usually a topic we blog about, but we feel its worthy of a blog to forewarn people of the lengths scammers will go through to get your money!

How the scratch-it scam works!

The pack arrives

The mail arrived and it included an A5 envelop pack. It was from Malaysia. At first, I thought that was unusual, but then remembered that at the end of 2018, my husband and son had travelled to Malaysia for a mountain bike race.

The envelop pack included a brochure from Dream Sea Holiday and two scratch-it tickets. At this stage I was suspicious, but the brochure and business details appeared to be legitimate and the tickets looked real. However, the singular use of holiday instead of its plural form, holidays, was a hint of the scam to follow!

Scam scratch-it ticket front
Scratch-it scam ticket back

The scam – scratch & win a prize

The scam asks you to scratch and win. It sucks you in with the possibility of winning large sums of US dollars, multiple prizes of USD $320,000, $220,000 and $130,000 as well as cruises, Iphones and Playstations. It had everything you could dream of!

Another hint here that is was a scam, was the wording on the brochure stating Complimentary Lottery Prizes. This wasn’t a lottery, it was a scratch-it ticket. Again I missed another clue that this was a scam!

Guess what! We won! Yep, we won USD $220,000 on the first ticket we scratched. That was $320,000 AUD.

Fake website and brochure

Although we were suspicious, it appeared legitimate as they had gone through the effort to make a brochure and had a head office company website.

When we checked out the business and found websites matching the head office and travel information it appeared real. But alas, they were all fake and the travel company name is similar to other holiday sites so it looks real. Not to mention the famous sponsors who appear on the back of the ticket. Come in sucker!

Dream Sea Holiday scam brochure

Contacting Dream Sea Holiday to tell them we won a prize

We decided to call Dream Sea Holiday. The ticket had the international number. My husband rang them even though we were suspicious it was a scam, but we thought just in case.

They focused at first on proving we had won the prize. So my husband provided the ticket number. They checked the number and verified it was a winning ticket. Congratulations we had won!

Now the scam went into overdrive. It was all about proving who we were and determining if we were eligible for the prize as we didn’t have a client number!

Getting our personal information

With every telephone conversation and email, they were slowly building a database of information about my husband. First he needed to complete the back of the ticket. “Don’t worry about the client number” they told us, just email a picture of the completed ticket winner’s details.

Then they wanted proof that my husband was who he said. So without hesitating we sent a photo of his driver’s licence, front and back.

Head office has to approve the prize

Now it gets complicated. Head office has to approve us to win the prize. However, we don’t have a client number. On no! We weren’t meant to get the ticket. We are not a client! So they offer us a cruise instead.

As a result, my husband gets upset with them. More emails go to and thro. Eventually, Head office decides they will honour the prize. Wow, it looks like we can afford that unit at Casuarina Beach we have been dreaming of.

Collecting our personal details

Pulling us further into the scam, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. They are going to pay the prize. So we hand them over our bank details! I know what you’re thinking, you fools! Yep!

Also to process the payment, they couldn’t read the licence number so they wanted another number from my husband. He confidently provided them with his Qantas number. Which has now been changed!

As each step of the scam progresses, more people get involved. Now we have to talk to the manager of the head office in Hong Kong.

The Head office gets nervous about us telling the media that they weren’t going to honour the prize. So we get emailed a confidentiality agreement, with two signatures and a space for my husband to sign. Willingly my husband signs it and emails it back!

The sting

The scam moved up a level when allegedly the Hong Kong Government was not happy about that much money leaving the country and they wanted to verify it was for a legitimate reason, not fraudulent activity.

At this point, both my husband and I are fairly confident it is a scam and this is the final part of the sting.

They waited a few hours before contacting us again, leaving us to sweat it out. Now they said they had to get solicitors to write a letter to the Government and my husband had to sign it so they would allow the money to leave the country.

Asking for money to process our prize

We never received that email. But they did contact us to ask for money to process the prize with the Government. There’s the sting! Oh no! Now we knew 100% that this was a scam!

Threats if we tell!

The threats started when we refused to send any money and told them we know it’s a scam. They threatened us and reminded my husband he had signed a confidentiality statement.

But it’s not my husband writing this article, it’s me, his wife! Anyway we are pretty sure that a declaration signed during a scam isn’t legal. Well we hope not. But who cares. They are criminals. And this all happened right before Christmas!

How to recognise a money scam – 101

Recognising a money scam as quick as possible is an important lesson to learn in life. It could have been worse for us. It’s embarrassing and sad that people think it’s alright to do this to other people.

At least we recognised the scam before handing over any money. I know there are people out there who have been scammed for a lot of money and had all their identity stolen.

So remember it’s probably a money scam if:

  • it’s too good to be true
  • documents contain grammatical errors and incorrect spelling
  • it’s from overseas and it’s been sent unsolicited
  • to verify your prize they keep asking for personal information
  • you need to sign a declaration or other document
  • they postpone giving you your prize or money for a variety of reasons
  • money is needed to process your prize
  • they ask you for your bank account and then your card numbers

Oh did I say, if it’s too good to be true – it’s a scam!

A final note. After you finish laughing, please share and tell others about this scam and help prevent anyone else from falling prey to these criminals. As for me, I need to call the bank to cancel the bank account, while my husband organises a new licence!

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