Publishers Clearing House scam in area

The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a scam circulating the area.

Several people have either been victim to or almost a victim to a fraudulent Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. According to a release, the scammers are asking victims to send a pre-paid gift card or a Green Dot Money-Pak card in order to claim a prize.

Publishers Clearing House says they do not operate this way; they arrive in person with balloons, roses and a check in hand, with no advance notice.

Publishers Clearing House included these tips in avoiding scams:

Tip 1: Beware of Fake Check Scams

If you receive a check claiming to be for a legitimate sweepstakes prize and are asked to cash it and wire

or send a portion back — STOP — you are the victim of a fraudulent contact. The check is not real!

Consumers should always remember that at Publishers Clearing House no payment or fee is ever

necessary to enter or claim a prize.

Tip 2: Be Suspicious of Callers Claiming You’ve Won – But Ask You to Send Money

If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming you have won a sweepstakes prize and are asked

to send money — STOP — you have not heard from a legitimate sweepstakes company. At Publishers

Clearing House we do not notify our contest winners by phone.

Tip 3: Be Wary of E-mails Claiming You’ve Won – and Asking You to Send Money

If you receive an e-mail notifying you that you have won a major sweepstakes prize, but are asked to

provide personal financial information, or send money — STOP -– you have most likely been contacted

by a fraudulent sweepstakes scam operator. At Publishers Clearing House we do not notify major prize

winners by e-mail.

Tip 4: Never Give Your Credit Card Number to Collect a Prize

If you are asked to provide your credit card number or provide your financial bank account information

in order to claim a sweepstakes prize — STOP. Fraudulent scam artists often request this information

and then go on a spending spree with your credit card; or wipe out your bank account.

Tip 5: Do Not Send Money to Claim a Sweepstakes Prize

If you are asked to send money to pre-pay taxes, pay a legal fee, pay a border fee, load funds on a Green

Dot Card or pay any kind of fee to claim a sweepstakes prize — STOP — you have not heard from a

legitimate sweepstakes company. Whether contacted by mail, phone or e-mail, remember: no

legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to pay or send money to claim a prize. It’s prohibited

and unlawful!

Tip 6: Always Play Safely

At PCH we include a Sweepstakes Facts insert in every promotional offer we send. Be sure to read the

Sweepstakes Facts, as well as our Official Rules. They are there to provide you with all the information

you need to play safely! Don’t fall for ‘lookalike’ mailings that try to mislead consumers by imitating

legitimate sweepstakes.

Tip 7: If an Offer Sounds Too Good to be True, Think Twice — It Usually is!

Remember, No Purchase is Necessary to enter a legitimate sweepstakes and the winning is always free!

Tip 8: Contact PCH: Know the Company Conducting the Sweepstakes


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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