Scam Alert - Publisher’s Clearing House / Lottery / Advance Fee Scam
by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
February 20, 2017
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING On Friday, Feb. 17, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert concerning the reappearance in Sweetwater County of the "Publisher’s Clearing House / Lottery Scam / Advanced Fee Scam."
Sheriff Mike Lowell said Sweetwater County residents are receiving letters purportedly from Publisher’s Clearing House informing them they have won $550,000. Enclosed with the letter is a check made out for $7,897.00, or a similar amount.
The letter, which is personally (though crudely) addressed, tells the "winner" that they must contact a "Claims Manager" at a certain telephone number in order to claim their "prize" BEFORE depositing the check.
The letter also emphasizes that, "As required by Federal and State laws, your security code and prize information must be Kept strictly confidential which means, you are precluded from discussing your win with third parties." (In other words, do not call the cops.)
The bogus "Claims Manager," once contacted, informs the intended victim that they must, in advance, pay what he calls a tax or processing fee. The check can then be deposited and the "winner" can look forward to receiving his or her half-million dollar prize.
The check, of course, is worthless, there is no prize, and the victim is out the "tax" or "processing fee."
"The letter, and, especially, the check, look convincing; that’s all part of the scam," said Lowell. "The two things to remember are these: You are never going to win anything in a lottery or promotion you did not enter yourself, and NO legitimate lottery, promotion, or giveaway is ever going to ask for cash in advance."
Authorities say many of the these lottery scams are operated by violent gang organizations in Jamaica and target American seniors in particular; it is estimated that U.S. residents are bilked out of around $300 million annually by lottery scams alone.
The Sheriff’s Office recommends the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website at www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud as an excellent source of information to help people protect themselves against fraud and scams of all kinds.