The New Year brings a new Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. As the prize patrol gears up for another year of big prizes.
Unfortunately, scammers are also gearing up to impersonate them.
Larenda Jackson and her mom, Annie, have always dreamed of this.
So when this PCH letter arrived - signed by Prize Patrol head Dave Sayer -- Annie thought her ship had come in.
"He said I won, I won $3 million,” she said.
The letter appeared to be legitimate.
It said Annie won $3 million, and that they were sending along with the letter a check to cover her insurance and attorney fees.
So Annie followed the instructions, depositing the $6,000 check and then sending $5,000 of it to the "attorneys" once the deposit cleared.
“Mom was leery about it,” Larenda Jackson said. “But when they said the cash was available, the check cleared, she figured if she sent anything it was the check they sent her."
When asked if the check cleared, Jackson had the disheartening news.
“Yes, I'm displeased with the bank because they said the funds was available,” she said.
But a few days later, the women got some bad news from their bank, PNC.
“Saying that the $6,000 check was insufficient, you have overdraw fees,” it told them.
It was all a scam.
PCH warns about scams on its website, saying:
“Publishers will never call, email, or write to say you are going to be a big winner. And they will never ask you to pay taxes or any money to collect your prize," its statement said.
We contacted the bank, which has agreed to investigate.
Annie prays it can.
"I need the money,” she said. “I'm broke and I need the money."
Bottom line: PCH will never ask you to pay taxes or anything upfront to collect your winnings. Those are scams.
So don’t waste your money.