Sweepstakes Scam Sweeping Wisconsin - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Sweepstakes Scam Sweeping Wisconsin

Updated:

The Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection is warning of a sweepstakes scheme sweeping the state.

The DATCP says Wisconsin residents are getting phone calls claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House, telling them they've won a sweepstakes.
     
But to collect their winnings, they're required to pay upfront fees with a pre-paid debit card.

Consumer protection says the actual Publishers Clearing House does not charge a fee to contest winners.

Sweepstakes scams are one of the most common complaints from consumers, and con artists using the name of Publishers Clearing House isn't new.

Target 2 first reported on a similar scheme the beginning of this year.  A woman named Gertrude Hsia got a letter telling her she won a million dollars from Publishers Clearing House.

"It looked so real.  That's when I got scammed," said Hsia.

To collect the winnings, Gertrude was told to pay upfront fees.  But there is no prize. In Gertrude's case, she lost $8000.

Postal inspectors say this sweepstakes scam is all too common and the elderly are often the target.

"If you are a winner in a legitimate sweepstakes, you will never be asked to pay fees to get your winnings," said Cheryl Swyers, U.S. Postal Inspector.

Experts say con artists use an organization's name--like Publishers Clearing House--to add legitimacy to their claims.

Consumer protection officials remind people that a request from a stranger for money, whether it's a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, is likely a scam.

For more information or to file a complaint, visit the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection at this website: http://datcp.wisconsin.gov or email: datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call 1-800-422-7128.

 

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