Publishers Clearing House scam making rounds

Publishers Clearing House scam making rounds »Play Video
Imagine how exciting it would be to win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

A lot of people around here are getting letters that say they did win a million bucks. But those letters are not legitimate.

They're just the latest prize scam making the rounds. But because it uses the Publishers Clearing House name and logo, it's sure to get your attention.

Those who truly do win one of the top prizes get a surprise visit from the prize patrol.

So if you get a letter that says you've won third place in the $15-million grand prize drawing sponsored by Martha Stewart Living Magazine, throw it away.

The bogus letter comes with a check for thousands of dollars and instructions to call a toll-free number. If you dial that number, you may think you've reached Publishers Clearing House because what you'll hear is, "Thanks for calling the Publishers Clearing House, where dreams can come true."

This is just another clever part of the con. The people working the line will tell you to deposit that check and wire off most of it to pay for the fees you supposedly owe. It's pure nonsense.

"These letters have absolutely nothing to do with Publishers Clearing House or any legitimate sweepstakes. They're telling you to send money. That's the bottom line that it's a scam."

But wait, there's more. To make the bogus letters seem legitimate, the text instructs you to contact the IRS agent handling your case at a number in the 514 area code.

Call that number, and someone may answer in French. Why would the IRS answer the phone in French? Because it's not the IRS. It's a phone number in Quebec, where the bad guys are located.

There's one sure way to spot this scam -- the name and address of the account holder on the check. It may be from a funeral home in North Dakota or a collision repair shop in California, but it is not from the Publishers Clearing House.

The bad guys steal the names and account numbers from real companies for their bogus checks. That way the bank will accept the check when you deposit it.

Be smart. Never wire off money to claim a prize, never.

Mor information:

Publishers clearing house warns of "fake check" mailings