The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

April 11, 2013

TPD warns citizens of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam


TARBORO — It is perhaps the dream of all of Tarboro citizens to receive a call from the fame Publishers Clearing House declaring that they are the winners millions of dollar. Some citizens have recently gotten those calls only to find that it was a scam.

According to a press release by the Tarboro Police Department, several citizens have recently received calls claiming they are eligible for a trip to Las Vegas or $500,000 in cash if they purchase $700 worth of scratch off lottery tickets and send them by UPS to a certain location.

The scam even gets better. The caller tells the listener that he/she will be registered for a drawing to possibly win $5.5 million dollars.

"If a citizen receives this type of call it is suggested that you say you're not interested and end the call," said Tarboro Police Sgt. Al Braxton. "Publishers Clearing House will not ask you to send money to get money."

Braxton said scams such as the one that his department is currently investigating are common. He said some of the scammers call from overseas and tracing them can be difficult.

"It's very hard to catch them," he said. "They just pick up a directory and start calling numbers for a few days and get about one or two and shut down. Then they change their phone number and pick up another directory (from a different area code) and start all over again. It's hard to catch them. Therefore, the best method of policing is prevention to make sure that it doesn't happen."

North Carolina’s attorney general is also spreading the word about common frauds and scams trying to take money from consumers.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday his consumer protection division has compiled an updated guide to frauds and scams that are novel, as well as those that have been around for years. It covers telemarketing fraud, phony prizes, fake checks, money-making schemes and home repair rip-offs.

The top tip to avoid losing money to a scam is never giving your Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers to anyone who contacts you by phone or email.

Consumer protection officers say don’t pay anything up front to get a loan, collect a prize, settle a debt, repair your credit or stall foreclosure.

If you believe that a scammer has called you, contact the Tarboro Police Department at 252-641-4247.

The Associated Press assisted with this story.