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
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
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