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Publisher's Clearing House Scam Hits Greene County

Last updated on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(GREENE COUNTY) - A scam involving official-looking Publisher’s Clearing House winning notification letters has cropped up in Greene County.

One woman was bilked out of $2,950.

The nationwide scam has been happening since 2009. People are sent a winnings notification letter containing proper name and address stating they will huge amounts of money in a sweepstakes lottery drawing.

The recipient is mailed a $4,525 check, which was designated as a first installment of the prize. The person is directed to deposit the check into their bank account and then call a "claims agent."

The woman who was scammed did just that and then withdrew $2,950 from her bank and send it by Western Union to an address in North Carolina to allegedly cover winnings fees and taxes.

After she wired the money, the woman became suspicious and contacted the sheriff's department. Police called the number on the notification letter and a male who said it was "Publisher's Clearing House" answered the phone. As soon as police identified themselves the man hung up.

Publishers Clearing House scam reports have come in from at least 19 states. Police say it looks like the woman has lost the money, because her bank says she is responsible for the money drawn on the bogus check.

Police say there is no way to follow up on the case and the FBI does not have the manpower to investigate.

Publishers Clearing House says they do not call winners and that they show up at your door with the prize and balloons and there is never a fee to claim the prize.

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