Phone Scam

Her welcome sign is always out, but Linda Johnson does not welcome being the target of would-be thieves. Her guard is always on. She says the caller told her she had one 2.5 million dollars, and asked how does that sound? She simply replied, it sounds great, if its real.

As the primary caregiver to her 93 year old mother and grandmother to 3 year old Sterling, Linda knows real needs.  At 63 years old herself, she says she's not about to fall for anything espcially when a caller asks for the name of her bank.  In responce to such a question she simply states she will not give that information and hangs up.

However, that did not stop this particular caller, the man called right back, insisting that she'd won and that if she would send him $500 dollars, he could save her from having to pay taxes on the 2.5 million.  The man went on to say that the money has to go to the Cayman Islands and come back to the United States to save her $3,500 out of the 2.5 million because the US cannot track it that way back and forth.

Margaret Crossan, Sr. Mgr. of Consumer Affairs at Publisher's Clearinghouse stated, "Please understand these are criminals and they are very good at what they do. Publisher's Clearinghouse does not have telemarketers and winners never learn of prizes over the phone. We want consumers to know that you never have to pay any amount to claim a prize with the real PCH. At Publisher's Clearinghouse, the winning is always free."

In fact, Crossan says that consumers need to be aware of this scam and others.  All you have to do is go to the PCH website, click on info center, and again on the consumber affairs section, and you'll find information about several scams to watch out for.  They include e-mail, direct mail and telemarketing.

Linda Johnson has heard all kinds of phone scams even ones requiring her to fill out t-19 forms for the IRS.  After checking with the IRS we discovered no such form exists.  In fact, all IRS forms are identified with four digit numbers like 1000 or 1040.

As for linda, she hung up on the telemarketer only to have him call back again.  And this time, her patience was wearing thin. She said, "Let me tell you something. First place, I don't have 500 dollars and I said second place I wouldn't give you a dollar not one for anything unless you put that money in my hand!"

If you have questions or if someone has contacted you claiming to be with Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, you can call their customer service number at 1-800-745-9242 or go the PCH Website.

Also, do not hesitate to report these cases to the National Fraud Hotline at 1-800-876-7060. It is important to report these incidents to help the FBI and other law enforcement bring these thugs to justice.