Northwest Iowa — Another scam is showing up here in northwest Iowa, this time claiming to involve the Publisher’s Clearing House Giveaway.
In this scam, a northwest Iowa resident was contacted by phone, then convinced by the scammer that they had won a large cash prize and a car from Publisher’s Clearing House. The supposed winner then was told to purchase electronic devices to allow secure communication, which the resident sent to the thieves. They were told to wire money through local businesses to different recipients to pay for taxes on the prize and storage of the car. They also mailed cash to the thieves.
Law enforcement says some of the transactions were able to be stopped but the thieves still got away with several thousand dollars. This is just the newest scam being perpetrated on unsuspecting victims, and there are others still being attempted, as well.
Please watch yourself and family members, and remember the following information: If you’ve received an offer, a call, mailing, etc. that you’re skeptical about, give your law enforcement agency a call and ask if it is legitimate. Law enforcement would much rather tell you that what you’re calling about is a scam or actually appears as legitimate than to have you get scammed. You’re not wasting their time, they want to help!
If you’re a retailer that handles money transfers, please watch for these scams and report them to law enforcement right away, being sure to follow your company procedure. If you recognize a customer is being scammed, please help them to not transfer the money to a thief.
Scammers sometimes encourage people to transfer money. Do not transfer money to anyone who asks you to send them money: For an emergency situation you haven’t confirmed; for an online purchase; for anti-virus protection; for a deposit or payment on rental property; to claim lottery or prize winnings; to pay taxes; for a donation to charity; for a mystery shopping assignment; for a job opportunity; for a credit card or loan fee; to resolve an immigration matter; to pay for something in response to a telemarketing call. Telemarketers cannot sell you anything and take payment by money transfer from anyone in the US. It’s illegal.
If the caller urges you to buy gift cards and use those to pay for whatever, it’s a scam
Be very careful with telemarketers, many are scams. If THEY call YOU, be suspicious and get more information before you send any money or divulge ANY personal information.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.