Scams found among scratch and win contests

If you are fond of “Scratch and Win” contests, be careful as they may be scams. The Consumer Claims Tribunal in Johor has recorded 150 cheating claims on such contests until November this year. 

Datuk K.S. Balakrishnan (BN - Permas), who is also Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, said the claims involved 19 direct-selling companies. 

Balakrishnan told the assembly on Thursday that the Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry had taken action by revoking the licences of two companies, Ivory Ed Sdn Bhd and Citisonic Marketing Sdn Bhd. 

He said the ministry was in the process of reviewing the licences of three other companies – Wijaya Marketing Sdn Bhd, Haxonix Supply Sdn Bhd and Bonanza Marketing Sdn Bhd. 

When contacted later, Balakrishnan said that some of the companies placed advertisements in newspapers to gain publicity and public trust. 

“Newspapers accept advertisements as it provides revenue. If they double-check on the status of advertisers, then maybe we can filter out the scams,” he told The Star

He said the modus operandi of the scams was as follows: “First, someone will contact you, informing you that you have won a lucky draw. Someone else will give you a scratch card, which will say you are a lucky winner of a major prize such as a car. 

“But the catch is that you have to first buy a product such as a water filter. 

“Who will not be tempted to part with RM3,000 if they can win a car? Later, they not only discover they did not win the car, but also the product they bought is of sub-standard quality,” said Balakrishnan. 

At the same sitting, state Health and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique said the implementation of Call Centre System 994 (CCS) by the Fire and Rescue Department in September last year had reduced the number of prank calls. 

CCS is computerised and can record and trace callers to the emergency line. 

“From January to September this year, the department recorded 425 prank calls. During the same period last year, it recorded 3,021 calls, a reduction of 87.67%,” said Halimah. 

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