Elia and George Lepoint, of Lismore
Elia and George Lepoint, of Lismore The Northern Star

Scam scratchie causes money drain for couple

A LISMORE couple had their winner's grins soured when their attempt to claim a $50 scratchie win cost them $90.

When the winning word 'MILK' was revealed in a word game their granddaughter sent an SMS on their mobile to the 19 number to claim the prize.

Instead, Elia and George Lepoint said their mobile's prepaid credit was milked of $90 after receiving a barrage of SMS ring tone downloads.

The free scratchie arrived as junk mail.

The Lepoints have warned people not to play, but to bin the scratchie immediately.

“I kept deleting the messages, but then I realised each one was costing us $7,” George said.

“We would wake up in the morning and there would be another one waiting.”

They sent an SMS with the word STOP, but it did no good. In fear they kept their phone turned off, but as soon as it was switched on the messages tumbled in.

In desperation the couple went to Optus, where helpful Lismore staff put a stop on the problem.

But a few days later the messages began stalking them again.

They again went to Optus and staff put a block on the number.

George said they were told to never phone a number starting with 19.

“So far so good,” George said. “I hear of elderly people getting caught out, but I never thought it would happen to us,” Elia said.

A NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing spokesman said the couple should send it the card to examine in case any government regulations had been broken.



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