Malaysia Scams – The Lucky Draw
“Free lucky draw, don’t need to buy anything one!”
My advice? Give him a punch, then run away.
Now this is a very special scam for me, want to know why? Because I was a victim. After all these years of being the go-to guy on advice for whether the opportunity is a scam or a legit business opportunity (especially for MLMs), I actually fell for one. Lost S$2000 because of it.
So, if you do punch them, you’d be doing me a favour. Thanks!
Granted, it happened some time last year, I thought I’d talk about since it’s starting to become a big thing, coming out on newspapers and what-not. Also helps that I’m still seeing these bast…buggers.. hanging around Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Yeap. It’s not only a problem in Johor Bahru, so it goes without saying that you’ll need to watch for for similar scams all across Malaysia, especially places filled with Singaporeans and tourists.
How It Works
It’s very simple. Someone, usually someone young in their early/late teens, will come up to you telling you that you’re eligible for a lucky draw. No purchase required.
It seems like the tickets change, nothing surprising, but it’s usually a scratch & win kind of thing. Once scratched, they will take out a list to compare prizes and, with lots of excitement, tell you that you’ve won a secret grand prize! Or something of that nature. Thing is though, they’ll need to bring you back to their office, because only then can they use a special ‘x-ray’ checker to check which prize you won!
In their office, they’ll bring out pictures and testimonials of past winners of cars, cash, and everything in between. But there’s a catch – you’ll need to pay a form of ‘tax’, or something similar. Anyway, the main thing is that they’ll try and convince you to spend money before they can let you know what you won. If you decide to do it, they’ll probably get you to sign an agreement of some sort with poorly written English.
I think I’m one of the lucky ones because I only got away with losing $2000. According to the news, there are people who lost 5 figures worth. Wow.
At the end of it, after paying the money, you’ll then have the chance to ‘x-ray’ your prize. No cookies for guessing what the result’s going to be. Oh, you’ll win something, but it’s definitely not car, condo or large amounts of cash. It’s very likely to be some pirated eletro-reflexology massager or a tourmaline health mattress.
Congratulations. You just got ripped off.
How To Avoid the Scams – Spotting Them
I hope that with these pointers, you’ll be able to pick them out and avoid making the same mistakes.
Young People – Most of those doing the approach will be young people, and will be dressed accordingly. No suits, nothing fancy, just everyday teen-wear like t-shirts and jeans.
Lucky Draw, No Affiliation – Practically all legitimate lucky draws need some form of purchase, you know, use this card, spend this amount, like this page, etc. Scam lucky draws don’t require you to do that. Also, most lucky draws will have their affiliation known because it’s meant to create hype and awareness of an event or a brand (xx shopping centre, yy detergent, zz luxury car, etc). Nobody gives anything away for free.
Shoddy Office – The office would look suspiciously like a rush job. Phones lines lay bare on the floor with partitions hastily put up. They may even show you a room with some of the ‘prizes’ that you can win, but generally, it would look worst than the average low-cost business’ office.
Assurances with Phone Contact – Having their phone number isn’t going to help. Pre-paid cards can be bought and discarded very easily.
Paying for the Prize – Since most lucky draws would have required you to done something to qualify for it in the first place, what you win as a result of it will be yours. In this scam, you can’t find out the prize until you pay up.
At The End Of The Day… Don’t Be Greedy
That’s what got me. I was so caught up in the process, thinking about the money that I’m going to win and calculating that I should recoup my loses even in the worst case scenario by selling the items. Best part was they actually brought me back to the hotel for me to grab my passport, which I think was needed for me to withdraw the cash. I was a little suspicious, went on the internet to try and find some information about the prizes and the scam, but couldn’t find anything concrete either way. Then I promptly went ahead with it.
I didn’t have my head on right that day, otherwise I would have called the police or simply disappeared after I was at the hotel.
Greed man. Sometimes, it’s a much stronger force than fear. Greed has its place, as with other emotions like fear and anger, but when it manifests itself like this? Expensive.
Anyway, long story short, and it’s super cliched, but if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.