CONSUMER Protection has issued a warning to Perth residents to ignore emails from an overseas betting agency trying to scam people into buying fake “Oz Lotto” tickets.
The scam reportedly tries to entice people with promises of higher prize money.
An investigation by Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet revealed that Oz Lotto Service (www.ozlottoservice.com) is one of many websites operated by two companies called Ad Management Ltd and Net Group NGL.
Both companies are registered in Malta, however the website is registered in Costa Rica and hosted in the Bahamas.
The companies host a number of other websites with similar names to legitimate licensed lottery outlets across the world, including www.uklottoservice.com.
Consumer Protection commissioner David Hillyard said unlicensed overseas sites offered no protection for Australian consumers.
“We know the company behind this online gaming site is sending unsolicited emails to people in WA and probably around Australia directing them to their website, hoping unsuspecting consumers will think they are taking part in the legitimate Australian lottery,” he said.
“But that is far from the truth as consumers are placing a bet, not buying a lotto ticket. The website is inviting people to gamble on the outcome of these lotteries and, without the protection of the licensing system, those who take part are not guaranteed to get any money if they win.
“Also concerning is that consumers are required to give up personal information, including their bank account details, if they sign up. We have had previous cases where unauthorised deductions have been made from bank accounts after details were provided to unlicensed online lotteries.
“Signing up on this website is a huge risk for consumers, especially when we don’t know who are behind these companies that are registered in a country which doesn’t have strong consumer or corporate regulations. So we recommend to consumers to stay clear, ignore the enticing emails and don’t take part in these gambling websites if you stumble across them on the internet.”
Anyone who wants to report a suspected unlicensed gambling or lottery website can email WA ScamNet on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 30 40 54.