Don’t fall for calls by Publisher’s Clearing House COVID-19 scammers

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The coronavirus pandemic is creating an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of the crisis. This time, it is a robocall complete with a secret winning number claiming to be from Publisher’s Clearing House.

At first Susie Logan believed she may have been a winner.

Logan insisted that the man she was talking with verify he was with the prize winning company. Aware of questions like that being asked, scammers know exactly what to send to make it look official.

Several times a month, Logan receives a letter from the real Publisher’s Clearing House. She says for years her husband has responded to the notices, believing some day they might win.

Then the other day she received a robocall claiming to be from the sweepstakes company.

“Congratulations. Publisher’s Clearing House is proud to inform you your second place winnings in our sweepstakes competitions.”

Robocall recording

“I wanted it to be real, but I did have a doubt.”

Susie Logan

Curious though, she wrote down a name, Errol Thomas, and a number to call, which she did.

“The guy told me I had definitely won second place, and I would be receiving my money in a short amount of time.”

Susie Logan

First, Logan was asked some personal questions which she refused to answer, and then asked Thomas some questions.

“I said I’ll tell you what, if it is legit you won’t mind sending me something to my email address and I can look it over, then I can call you back.”

Susie Logan

Giving him her email address, Logan printed a page complete with her name, winning prize and confirmation number. To sweeten the deal, a fancy new Mercedes-Benz was part of her winnings. Then, she printed a third page.

“So, I looked at it. It’s got Publisher’s Clearing House emblem on it. I thought, well it looks kind of like it could maybe be real. I was getting excited.”

Susie Logan

The third page showed fees she must pay first before she would receive her winnings.

The fees added up to $3,500, and if she were to send them that, they were going send her $2 million in prize winnings.

The real Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol does not call you in advance to let you know about your winnings. It’s a surprise.

Logan went to Publisher’s Clearing House’s website and learned of a lot of warnings about fraudsters pretending to be them.

“Of course I didn’t give them any money. At that point, I was like this is just a scam, this can’t be. Who doesn’t want to win this kind of money? It looks real, and you need to be very careful. You need to research before you jump in.”

Susie Logan

Remember if you receive a telephone call from someone claiming you have won a sweepstakes prize and are asked to send money, don’t.

At Publisher’s Clearing House, their contest winners are not notified by phone or email. Be careful and don’t fall for lookalike mailings. These letters will attempt to mislead you by imitating legitimate sweepstakes.

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