Millions Of Dollars Going To Jamaican Scammers In PCH Scam
LABELLE, FL. -- In what appears to be a nationwide scam going on in recent months, elderly are receiving calls from so-called representatives of Publishers Clearing House, announcing that the call recipient has won a PCH sweepstakes prize.
But, after gaining the confidence of the senior citizen who is looking forward to millions in cash, thousands of dollars weekly for life, and a new automobile, the man on the phone says the winner has to send $500 to collect the winnings. The "winner" is also told they have to send funds for taxes on the new vehicle, and it must be paid first before the car can be delivered.
The senior is also notified not to tell anyone about the phone calls or their "winnings." This tactic keeps any family or friends unaware of what's going to happen over several weeks, while thousands of dollars in funds are being sent to various addresses around the country.
Then, once the senior has sent the preliminary payments, the caller now say a payment of many thousands has to be sent to cover the income taxes that are owed for winning the car. If the senior complains they don't have the money, all sorts of hard sell persuasion come to the fore, "You don't get nothing for nothing," one caller said. The senior is told to use credit cards to get cash advances. One 93-year old senior was told they have her income tax records and know she has more money.
Victims of this fraud typically have lost $15,000 to $22,000 before getting wise to the scam. By then it's too late.
The Publishers Clearing House scam, according to authorities, is coming from Jamaica, with phone calls from cell phones that are hard to trace with male scammers that are very friendly, convincing, and without any foreign accents.
Warning: Calls to certain area codes - Part of the Jamaican scam involves the victim being asked to make calls to an 876 area code. This long distance phone scam causes consumers to inadvertently incur high charges on their phone bills. Consumers usually receive a message telling them to call a phone number with an 809, 284, 649, or 876 area code in order to collect a prize, or find out information about a sick relative, etc. The caller assumes the number is a typical three-digit U.S. area code; however, the caller is actually connected to a phone number outside the United States, often in Canada or the Caribbean, and charged international call rates. Unfortunately, consumers don't find out that they have been charged higher international call rates until they receive their bill.
Other area codes to watch out for are 473 and 268. The calls to those area codes may cost $20 up front and $9 for each additional minute. Scammers typically call, let the phone ring once and hope they get a call back to rack up the high per minute charges.
The real Publishers Clearing House says, "US Government officials, the US Postal Inspection Service, police and law enforcement agencies around the country, as well as The Federal Trade Commission are all working together to combat the rise in scams coming out of Jamaica. It is a difficult and arduous task as these cross-border, trans-national scams are among the hardest crimes to investigate and prosecute as there is no face-to-face interaction. But we are all fighting back together."
PCH says never pay anyone a fee. taxes, insurance, handling or shipping charges or any other funds to collect a prize from any contest or sweepstakes. If anyone contacts you by phone asking to send a fee, hang up immediately. PCH does not call winners by phone but actually arrives at the winner's home just as seen on the commercial, for prizes of $10,000 or more, or sends a certified letter to winners of lesser prizes.