On Your Side: New twist in Publishers Clearing House scam

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:13 PM CST
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CONWAY, Mo. (KY3) - It’s a new twist to the old Publishers Clearing House scam. A woman in Conway was told she won $2.5 million. Good thing she’s skeptical. She could have lost nearly $10,000.

“I thought the Canada stamp was weird,” said Katherine Prier. “It’s a global stamp.”

From the start, Prier thought it was strange. Inside was a letter with the Publishers Clearing House banner. It reads Prier is the second-place winner, with $2.5 million. It’s sponsored by Readers Digest, Mega Millions, Multi-State Lottery Association, and a list of other companies, which is not likely. The shenanigans continue with a $9,850 check.

This is the new twist to the old scam. This check is supposed to cover insurance and attorney fees.

“Where it came from, says Erickson Living Properties LLC. What they would have to do with Publishers is beyond me,” said Prier.

“Does it even make sense?” asked Pamela Hernandez with the Better Business Bureau. “Does the address of the company make sense with the address of the bank? Is it the kind of company that would send you a check like that?”

When in doubt, ask your teller at your bank. Crooks hope you’ll cash the bogus check and send the money for the so-called insurance and attorney fees. All before you realize it’s a bad check and you’ve lost thousands.

Swindlers add this disclaimer to improve their chances.

“This is what really got me,” said Prier. “As it says, required by state and federal laws, your security code and prize information must be kept confidential. Which means you are precluded from discussing your win with a third party. I guess you’d be a third party,” Prier told Ashley Reynolds as she laughed.

Other red flags for this scam:

If you did not enter, don’t expect to win.

Just as you see on TV, the real PCH winners are surprised. It’s part of the promotion. You won’t get a call or a letter like this.

Another version of this scam is if you’re asked to buy gift cards to cover the taxes. Don’t take the bait. Real lottery and sweepstakes don’t work like that.

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