The Better Business Bureau is warning of a Publishers Clearing House scam. Officials said, "Be aware that the PCH scam is active in our area. We spoke with a victim this morning who did send a $1,500 Green Dot Money Pak over the weekend. We have been receiving consumer inquiries for several weeks about the calls."
Publishers Clearing House provided the following tips:
Scammers never take a rest. But two of the most common happening lately involve a new twist that scammers are using with the Publishers Clearing House name, and supposedly the state of Tennessee trying to get your unclaimed property to you.
Publishers Clearing House will not call you before they visit.
Consumers have been calling about representatives who claim to be with Publishers Clearing House (PCH) who are really out to get your money. This ruse of a scammer claiming that they are with Publishers Clearing House is not new. Typically, the schemer will instruct the consumer to go out and buy a Green Dot money card—then instructs the consumer to call them back with the information. Sometimes the schemer will ask the consumer to send money via a wire service in order to pay upfront the “taxes and fees” so the prize(s) can be released. The typical “prize” is a million or so dollars with usually a fancy car thrown in for good measure. The typical, so-called “taxes and fees” amount that consumer have reported averages around $300-$500.
The new angle in this ruse is that these schemers are being bold enough to ask the consumer to withdraw cash from the bank or get a Green Dot money card and meet up with them at the nearest CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. Some go as far as to say they will go to their house to meet with them to pick up the money or card.
Should you receive a call from someone saying they are from Publishers Clearing House, keep these BBB tips in mind first:
· Publishers Clearing House will never notify you beforehand that they plan to stop by to award your prize—it should be an absolute surprise.
· You cannot win a prize you if did not enter.
· PCH will never ask for money upfront in order for you to claim your prize; the government will take it out when you file your income tax later. Anyone who states differently is trying to scam you. If you have to pay for a prize, then it’s no longer a prize, but rather a purchase.
· It is good practice to run the information you learn by a trusted friend, family member, neighbor, lawyer, or even the BBB before you go blindly to claim your prize.
· Should you ever feel uncomfortable in a situation, or the schemer starts to threaten you, call the police and file a report. Never go alone to meet someone when exchanging items is involved.
For more information on scams that use Publishers Clearing House’s name visit: http://info.pch.com/consumer-information/fraud-protection.