Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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May 7, 2012

Scam artists have no scruples, protect yourself

Mabank — Why people prey on the less fortunate is beyond me.

Recently, a local Avon Representative called me and said she had a customer who almost fell for a scam.

It seems her customer, who happen to be up in years, received a letter from Publishing Clearinghouse.

This was not the letter that stated ‘You may be a winner’. This letter had a check enclosed.

The poor woman was so excited to have been a winner.

The lady was on her way to the bank when my friend showed up.

Sherry asked to see the letter and check. She proceed to check it out on the internet.

It did look very genuine.

I don’t know how much the check was for, but the instruction said deposit the check and return $2000 to Publisher Clearinghouse for processing fee. There lies the problem.

I have heard of the same scam, not with Publisher Clearinghouse. This has been going around a long time.

It is just a shame some people are so deceitful and some people are gullable.

Publishing Clearinghouse is aware of this scam. There is a warning on their website.

Here is some information that can be found on the PCH website.

If you receive a check claiming to be from a legitimate sweepstakes and are asked to cash it and wire or send a portion back -- STOP -- you are the victim of a scam contact. The check is not real! Consumers should always remember that at Publishers Clearing House no payment or fee is ever necessary to enter or claim a prize.

If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming you have won a sweepstakes prize but are asked to send money to claim it -- STOP -- you have not heard from a legitimate sweepstakes company. At Publishers Clearing House theydo not notify contest winners by phone.

If you receive an e-mail notifying you that you have won a major sweepstakes prize, but are asked to provide personal financial information, or send money to claim the prize -- STOP -– you have most likely been contacted by a fraudulent sweepstakes scam operator. At Publishers Clearing House they do not notify major prize winners by e-mail.

If you are asked to provide your credit card number or provide your financial bank account information in order to claim a sweepstakes prize -- STOP. Fraudulent scam artists often request this information and then go on a spending spree with your credit card; or wipe out your bank account.

If you are asked to send money to pre-pay taxes, pay a legal fee, pay a border fee, or pay any kind of fee to claim a sweepstakes prize -- STOP -- you have not heard from a legitimate sweepstakes company. Whether contacted by mail, phone or e-mail, remember: no legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to pay or send money to claim a prize. It’s prohibited and unlawful!

Don’t fall for ‘lookalike’ mailings that try to mislead consumers by imitating legitimate sweepstakes.

The only sweepstakes rule you need to know is that No Purchase is Necessary and the winning is always free!

The other scam I heard recently was people calling saying they are your grandchildren and need money wired to them.

A local lady at Cedar Creek Lake was taken for a number of thousand of dollars.

Please don’t fall for these scam. As much as you and I would like to think everyone is good, they are not.

I have seen a lot of scams come through the paper and somehow they just continue or a new one will pop up.

As long as people fall for them, there is no reason to stop.

The old adage “If it sound to good to be true it most likely is” is so true.

If you are not sure find someone you trust to help you figure out it you are being scammed.

There are legitmate sweepstakes. But there are more non-legit one. 

If you believe you have been contacted by a scam it is recommended that you contact your local consumer protection officials and file a complaint with the National Fraud Information Center at Your complaint may help others and will be useful to law enforcement in stopping the scams.

Contact Kathi Nailling at generalmanaget@

Cedar Creek


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