Consumer Fraud Task Force warns residents of Clearing House Awa - KMOV.com

Consumer Fraud Task Force warns residents of Clearing House Award Scheme

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Consumer Task Force warns of Publishers Clearing House award scheme (Credit: BBB) Consumer Task Force warns of Publishers Clearing House award scheme (Credit: BBB)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The Consumer Fraud Task Force is warning Missouri and Illinois residents to be aware of a fake Publishers Clearing House award notice, after an 85-year-old man lost more than $6,000 to fraudulently representatives.

“It seemed legitimate,” a victim of the scheme said, after giving money to the thieves pretending to represent the well-known sweepstakes firm. “I was too trusting.”

The Task Force says the man is among the latest victims of scammers who send out notices to consumers, many whom are senior citizens. The announcements are often accompanied by phony checks and follow-up calls that the winner send back portions of the money to cover taxes and other fees.

The fake Publishers Clearing House award listed Walmart, J.C. Penney and Reader’s Digest as sponsors.

The  Task Force is a coalition of local, state and federal government agencies and nonprofit business and consumer groups in Missouri and Illinois that work together to protect consumer and donor rights and guard against fraud.

 The Force lists a few safety tips to determine if a prize is legitimate:

  • Never wire money or make any payments in advance of receiving your winnings – even if you receive what appears to be a legitimate check to cover the amount. These checks are almost always fake.
  • Understand that these schemes can be very sophisticated, often using official-looking documents and embossed seals to fool the consumer. Just because an award notification looks authentic does not mean that it is.
  • If you have not entered the contest, you likely have not won.
  • Publishers Clearing House does not contact you in advance of appearing at your home.

For more information, or to report a scam, contact the Better Business Bureau at (314) 645-3300 or click here.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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