COVINGTON, La. -- Ads for the latest Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes campaign have been ramping up in recent weeks, but so have scams using the company and their prizes as bait.
Maria Burkhart describes a recent phone call she received, “She said, the prize patrol is in your neighborhood delivering prizes so I need to know where you live so we can deliver the prize."
Burkhart got one of those scam calls from an 876 number claiming she had won $500,000, but didn't bite.
"I went online to get the number for Publisher's Clearing House and right away on the screen, it said, if you think you've had a fraud call, call this number and there was also another article that said 'Jamaican Publisher's Clearing House Scam,’” she said.
"It's a cold call and they tell people that we're from the Publisher's Clearing House and you have won millions of dollars. However, all you have to do is to get a green dot card or wire money," said Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB says hang up if you get these calls, and the real Publisher's Clearing House says it wants to know about it because your complaints help catch the scammers and shut down the suspected phone numbers.
Consumer Affairs Director Margaret Crossan said, "At Publisher's Clearing House, there's no purchase necessary. We award our prizes just like you see on television and it's free."
Burkhart was glad she knew the difference.
"I called the TV station to just try to get the word out to people it's happening in this area and try to protect people from falling for it," she said.
Burkhart, and the company, hope this warning does just that.
If you get this scam call, the Publisher’s Clearing House has a special fraud number to report it, 1-800-392-4290. Or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.