Scam artists seem to be using the names of highly recognizable, legitimate companies more and more in their attempts to rip you off – and, that trend has ramped up considerably over the last couple of years.
One such example, is a letter received by a Cherokee County resident, purportedly coming from Publishers Clearinghouse.
The message said the recipient had won a total $330,000 in their “Quarterly Bonanza”.
The letter was painstakingly done to appear as legitimate as possible, citing those so-called “winning ticket numbers”, an outline of how to proceed in order to collect your “winnings”, and so on.
The envelope also contained a check, made out in the name of the “winner” – in the amount of $2,280 to be used for (quote) “…processing, insurance and delivery fees, which will be required to get your money to you as soon as possible…” (end-quote).
Strangely enough, that check appeared to be drawn on the CVS Corporation, which was yet another “red flag” in the process.
The intent of the letter is to entice the victim to cash that check at his or her local bank, and as in every case, they would then be told to mail the money to the scammers. This is where it all goes wrong. By cashing that check the con artists will then be able to access your bank account and they can pull whatever amount they want from it…which is always ALL OF IT – and in addition to that the phony check will bounce in a few days – and the bank is going to be wanting that $2,280 back and they’re going to be coming to YOU to get it.
WEIS Radio News spoke directly with a representative from Publisher’s Clearinghouse who informed us that this is one of the highly sophisticated scams illegally using the Publisher’s Clearinghouse name – adding that the company often works with people wishing to report such a scam to law enforcement officials.
She also informed us that in the event someone does win a substantial monetary amount – Publisher’s Clearinghouse does NOT contact that person through the U.S. Mail, via e-mail or by phone; instead, just like in the television commercials – they show up at your home with the prize, in person.
So if you receive any similar notification that you have “won” a large amount of money from Publisher’s Clearinghouse – don’t get your hopes up and above all don’t fall for the gimmick being used by these crafty con-artists.
If you’re ever actually a winner you’ll see a van pull up in front of your home and a bunch of very nicely-dressed people will come to your front door with check in hand.