A long but hopefully educational debate ensued, with a few googles for 'Purely Creative scratchcard scam' or similar. Surprise again - they had been fined by ICSTIS, the toothless premium phone number regulator.
It's a dirty business - give me a good honest shoplifter any day. The phones to claim a 'prize' cost £9. Only prizewinners will phone, as the scratchcards are free. So the prizes - such as they are - read the message boards or google to find out - are paid for by the phone calls. You don't need an economics degree to work out that to make a profit they're not going to be giving much away. I imagine the people who fall for this are either a) young and gullible b) elderly and trusting.
The economics aren't too bad. Let's say the prize is worth £2, the calls cost £9 - £7 a throw. Send out half a million of these, 20,000 mugs ring in (no idea what the response is BTW) - that's 140K. An ICSTIS fine of £2k isn't exactly going to make a hole in that.
Purely Creative are apparently owned by DM plc, who are quoted on the AIM market. They're based in Lancaster, which rang a bell. A company called Monstermob used to be based there, also not unknown to the ICSTIS regulator. I seem to recall the then owner, some sharp young guy, being presented with a Young Businessman award by the local Tory MP. Gullibility isn't confined to teenagers and OAPs.
I took a look at the current board of Monstermob. Blimey - they certainly live up to their name. Santiago Jack ? Where's Frisco Valdez, One-Eye Martinez and Valparaiso Pete ?
UPDATE - just when you think things can't get any lower - some entrepreneurial types have had the bright idea of selling the 'prizes' on ebay ! A £9 investment sells for £100 !
This guy only got £19 back. Look at this for an honest sales pitch.
I have just won a holiday for 1 to
You will receive a scratch card with already obtained claim code (cost me £9 to phone 0906 to confirm the prize), so the only thing you will need to do is to fill in your details and send it to the travel agent, Purely Creative, which is a reputable company so there won’t be any worries there. If you have any questions about the holiday you can call Purely creative on 08700 500 755 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday).)