PUTRAJAYA - A syndicate specialising in scratch-and-win coupons has become so brazen that it is giving out claim forms from the Tribunal for Consumer Claims Malaysia (TTPM).
"This bold step by the syndicate is a kind of psychological attempt to dupe potential victims," said Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad.
The syndicate, like those in most other scratch-and-win scams, would tell potential victims that they had won attractive prizes - such as gold bars, sports cars, holiday or umrah packages, jade mattresses, electrical goods and even cash.
The "winners" would then be asked to collect their prizes at the syndicate's premises but not before paying an administrative fee, government tax or deposit.
"Using the TTPM forms, the syndicate will try to convince the unsuspecting public that they can get a refund or compensation," Alias told mStar Online.
"The victims will not receive the prizes as promised or will only get inferior products.
"When the victims complain, they will not get any refunds but instead be advised to file a complaint with TTPM," said Alias.
The TTPM forms were being used to give a false impression that the scratch-and-win coupons were authentic, he said.
"In some cases, they even suggested the victims deal directly with the authorities," he added.
The syndicate, said Alias, was organised and had managed to avoid capture.
"It is hard when victims come to us without any receipt as proof of purchase and details of the company," he said.
Between 2006 and April 25 this year, the ministry recorded 7,707 scratch-and-win complaints involving RM36.59 million (S$14.1 million) in losses.
It is also among the top five complaints lodged with TTPM.
"This year alone, we received 353 cases involving RM2.86 million," said Alias.
He said Negri Sembilan recorded the highest number of scratch-and-win complaints with 149 cases, followed by Kelantan (42), Malacca (23) and Putrajaya and Perak with 16 cases each.