Publishers Clearing House scam circulates Brown Co.

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 11:29 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Brown County Sheriff John Merchant is warning residents of a new scam circulating the area.

Brown County Sheriff John Merchant says he is warning residents of a new scam circulating the area in which they are contacted via telephone stating they had won a Publishers Clearing House monetary prize. He says the resident is then given a phone number to call and is instructed to send a money order to an Ohio address.

Merchant says the scammer states his name is James Anderson and after the money is received in Ohio, he will mail a package with a personal check and amounts vary from $250,000 and $500,000. He says the check is incredibly realistic.

According to the Sheriff, after the package with the check is received, the resident is again contacted by Anderson stating that in order to cash the check, the resident must pay taxes on it and is then instructed to send a money order to a New Hampshire address.

He says when the personal check sent to the resident was researched, it came back to a bank account from Namibia, Africa.

Merchant says the casework has been sent to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office and is currently working with other agencies as the scam is being seen in other states.

Merchant says he understands the current economic crisis has made people extremely vulnerable and when offers of free money arise, it seems too good to pass up. He says many victims are elderly residents that have worked their entire lives and are barely making do on a fixed income, so when a large amount of money is promised, they can easily be tricked into sending their hard-earned money in hopes of becoming wealthy.

The Sheriff is asking residents to please not send checks, cash or money orders to anyone with the promise of getting rich quick, as this does not happen. He says if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

“I am asking that if anyone is receiving such solicitations and you are thinking about responding and sending money, please contact moe or your local law enforcement,” says Merchant. “Please let us take a look at it first.”

Sheriff Merchant says he is also commending the work of county banks as they have been advising elderly customers when they feel they are being scammed and wanting to purchase money orders for large amounts of money. He says as time goes by, scammers are becoming more effective at stealing money.

Merchant says if residents receive calls of being awarded large amounts of money, they should hang up immediately. He says the longer residents are kept on the phone, the more information scammers can attain.

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