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East County Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 5 years ago

Sheriff's office warns of sweepstakes scam

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Residents getting a call from the Publishers Clearing House may not be as lucky as they hope.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday a phone scam is in progress in the area.

As part of this scam, the caller claims to be a representative of Publishers Clearing House and advises the potential victim he or she has won $500,000. The caller then tells victims they must pay a fee of $1,000 to claim the prize. The caller also asks for a credit card number or checking account number to transfer the money.

A sherrif’s office release states a detective called the provided toll-free number and after several days of attempts got an answer from a person claiming to be from the Federal Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C. When confronted about the scam, the individual quit talking to him.

The sheriff’s office advises residents to be cautious and note that Publisher’s Clearing House does not call winners of their lottery. They just appear at your front door. Additionally, sweepstakes winners never have to pay to receive their prizes.

If you are ever uncertain whether a win is really from the PCH, you can contact them toll-free at 1-877-3SWEEPS from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Questions regarding this particular scam can be directed to Det. Dave Johnson at 747-3011, Ext. 2551.

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