How to recognise an Elaborate Scam!

I have sold goods on CarSales and Gumtree numerous times. One time or another I've received phishing emails or messages related to the items that I've advertised. The most recent scam I received; however, arrived in the letterbox in an A5 envelope. To me it was clear that the parcel was an elebrate scam; however, to many others they may fall victim to the deceiving trap. There are five chararacterists of phishing that one should be aware of;


1. Captures Attention

In my particular situation I received an envelope onto which were multiple postage stamps. The cost involved captured my attention and I immediately opened the item. People responsible for phishing scams will attempt to capture the interest and intrigue of their victims by employing appropriate strategies. Scams and accounts of phishing may use your name, intriguing colour or imagery or suggesting that you were one chosen from many possible people. These measures are undertaken to entice you to read further and be tricked by the magic.

2. You're a Winner

In my envelope were two tickets that looked a lot like those used for an air flight. Each had a silver panel to scratch and one revealed that I was a lucky winner and the recipient of a possible $180,000. I didn't receive a prize for the second ticket. One could be easily fooled into thinking that I had actually won a prize. Phishing emails, messages and scams will identify you as a winner and provide you with the contact details to receive your grand prize. Upon contact they will seek your personal identification and bank details. Once they have this information their game will be complete.


3. Vague Information

The information package I received had details about the organisation and the plan for the company. I read the information and discovered that the information was extremely vague. The details provided lacked authenticity and credibility. Phishing emails and scams should be thoroughly read to evaluate the article for credibility. 

4. Inaccurate Details

In the brochure that I had received it had many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Some of the details were interesting such as the line that stated "as we head into the year of 2016". Considering that this year is almost over it is apparent that the brochure is outdated. An observation that I made was at times Australian and American spelling was used and this demonstrates inaccuracies in the article. Despite their being a website that supports the brochure it's all just an elaborate scam. A major error in the material is the brochure states the company prides itself on "island vacations throughout Asia" yet the brochure has almost no images of destinations in Asia; however, does include photos of Greece, Mediterranean Islands, London, Egypt, Alaska, France and Australian beaches. When receiving an email or message one should look for inaccuracies in the text and imagery to make an informed decision about how to best respond to the contact.

5. Listed Stakeholders

Another aspect of scams to consider are the listed stakeholders within the article. Sometimes the names, companies, organisations or individuals are bogus. In my instance Jacob and Ava Holdings were sponsoring first, second and third prizes. I Googled their names and the website I was directed to had similar layout to Invincible Queen Tours themselves. When receiving a phishing message, email or letter there will be alias names used to appear authentic; however, quick research will reveal that it's likely smoke and mirrors.


As the saying goes if it's too good to be true then it probably is. Use commonsense, analytic skills and conduct some basic research when receiving a suspicious email to determine if you need to respond or report the situation. Phishing incidences can be referred to the Australian government via ScamWatch. Be wary and be cautious to recognise an elaborate scam.


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