Scammers put a new twist on old fake claim of winning Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s a new variation on an old scam that tries to delude you into thinking you’ve won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes.

In this variation, they use an imposter on the phone who tries to convince you that you’ve just collected a boatload of money.

In this scam, opportunity doesn’t knock at your door — it calls and it’s a criminal. They’re using the good name of Publisher’s Clearing House to scam you.

A scam call to a CBS 17 viewer received began like this: “You’re the second-place winner in the Publisher’s Clearing House. Please feel free to call the prize patrol manager.”

Officials say at first it all sounds credible.

“It sounds believable, but if you call that number, eventually they’re going to start asking you for personal information,” said Tony Binkley of the Better Business Bureau.

The scam call goes on to add an interesting claim: “This is a legitimate call notifying you that you have won.”

In reality, the criminals are trying to pretend it’s not a scam by assuring you the call is on the up and up.

When it comes to the real Publisher’s Clearing House “They’re not going to call you,” said Binkley. “They’re going to show up at your doorstep.”

The whole point of the doorstep visit is to record the surprise on the winner’s face. That’s what they’re looking to promote.

The real Publisher’s Clearing House also needs people to enter in order to find winners.

“You can’t win a prize, a lottery, or a sweepstakes unless you buy a ticket,” said Binkley. “You have to enter to win. No one is going to call you out of the clear blue and award you a prize when you haven’t bought a ticket.”

Publisher’s Clearing House is such a target for scams that it has a special section on its website devoted to helping consumers detect fraud from all the different scam variations.

Some of the scams using the Publisher’s Clearing House as cover will ask you to wire money or obtain gift cards to pay for fees associated with a prize.

That’s also a red flag. You don’t have to pay to obtain a legitimate Publisher’s Clearing House prize.

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