Overseas lottery scams are flourishing and Australians are being sucked in, many of them losing thousands of dollars, the Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) says.
Lottery scams, in which people are asked to pay a fee and give personal information to access winnings from a bogus lottery, are one of the most reported confidence tricks nationwide.
ACFT chair Louise Sylvan said poorer consumers were attracted to the scams, which had increased at an alarming rate in recent years.
"The scam relies on the consumer becoming excited by the thought that they really have won the 'big one'," she said.
"A consumer might consider a relatively small fee to be worth a risk worth taking when they compare it to the size of their winnings."
She said a large number of consumers had reported sending significant sums of money to overseas scammers and many had lost more than $10,000.
The Australian and New Zealand taskforce, comprising 18 government agencies, has begun a four-week campaign to educate people about the dangers of scams received by mail, phone and email.
The taskforce is advising consumers who receive suspicious looking offers to "delete it, hang up or destroy it".