HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Hutchinson Police report that they have received several calls from citizens who are being notified of winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, but believe it’s a scam.
It starts with a call or letter saying you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. But to collect your prize, they say, you need to send money to pay for fees and taxes. Typically you’ll be asked to send money by Western Union or MoneyGram, or by getting a reloadable card or gift card. Scammers ask you to pay these ways because it’s nearly impossible to trace the money — and you’ll almost never get it back.
But that’s not the only way scammers get your money with this scam. Some will send you a realistic-looking fake check in the mail. You’re told that to claim your prize, you need to deposit the check and send some of the money back for made-up expenses. But when the check you deposit bounces — even after it seemed to clear — you may be on the hook for the money you sent.
Never send money to collect any prize, sweepstakes check, or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
Never deposit a check and send back money, even if the funds appear in your account. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up. Don’t follow any directions given by the caller to go anywhere such as a bank and call them back. You should also know that numbers that show up on your caller ID are most likely false. It is common for scammers to use other phone numbers, even local numbers, that will show up on your caller ID.
If you lose your money, there is almost nothing that can be done to get it back. Most of these scammers are operating from a foreign country.