The final events all came together.
I wrote to the apparent awarding company (DTAC) with copy to the Financial Services Authority that I was making the money ready.
I then consulted with two or three friends on what to do. This was in contravention with the given instructions that insisted on secrecy.....their opinion was similar to mine, it may be a scam but if its not the prize money will more than make up for the expense!
The next step was two pronged. I started calling around to raise the money and one friend came back positively. I then inquired around as to how I could transmit the money...apparently local laws would forbid the transfer unless I could prove a genuine need for such purpose to the bank. I then wrote to the Financial Services Authority mentioning that I had taken advice and that I needed an invoice.
My thinking was that an invoice would give some sort of guarantee and leave a paper trail and also make it easier to make the bank transfer. I told the FSA that I was collecting the money and that the invoice had to be for goods and services that I was being provided. In passing I also mentioned that local laws allowed only this purpose and the only other option was for the funding for study of a relative.
The DTAC which had been copied wrote to me reminding me of the need for secrecy and the FSA actually sent me an invoice. What was conspicuous was that the invoice did not have an organizational heading and the transfer had to be made by western union or not at all . It was also for the credit of an individual. To top the story the invoice purported to be for the provision of teaching services....
I was now 99% sure it was scam, but greed for the huge prize money was also there.....I wrote to the FSA that the money would be ready in two days.
Imagine my surprise when I get call from a +61 number a little later and an Asian sounding voice talked to me and asked when I would transfer the money.
BTW up to now my searches online never once indicated the presence of a scam under the DTAC name.
When I searched under the number that I had been called from I found one, just one item that helped me... well that link showed me that this was a long running scam. Lucky me! So many had shared their story about being duped and actually having paid...