Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) July 09, 2011
NumberInvestigator.com, a leading online phone directory and consumer protection service, urges consumers to be skeptical if they receive a phone call notifying them that they have won a large cash prize from one of the nation’s most popular sweepstakes, Publishers Clearing House.
According to a recent article from WBOC, residents have reported receiving calls from callers claiming to be Publishers Clearing House representatives. These ‘representatives’ tell unsuspecting consumers that they have won a large sum of money and in order to claim their prize they must first purchase a “MoneyPak” reload card for $200.
MoneyPak cards are a specific type of gift card that are available for sale across the country in retail stores. Once purchased, the cards allow consumers to use them much like a debit cards which are typically used to make same-day payments or add money to existing prepaid cards and PayPal accounts.
Here’s how the scam works; once a consumer purchases the MoneyPak card, they submit the information to the fraudster in order to claim their prize. But, once the information has been transferred the scammer is now able to access the money on the card and quickly drains the $200 and disappears, leaving the victim who thought it was their lucky day with an empty wallet.
Law enforcement are warning that the instigators of this scam are using these MoneyPak cards to cheat consumers out of their hard-earned cash in a way that is similar to the recent wave of Western Union wire transfer scams. The major difference is that Western Union scams are typically found online, whereas the Publishers Clearing House scam seems to be run primarily via the phone.
NumberInvestigator.com issues the following tips to help consumers avoid falling victim of this scam:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let the excitement of winning overpower good judgment and common sense.
- Only people who enter the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes can win a prize. Assume any call that indicates you’ve won a sweepstakes you’ve never entered is a scam and report it immediately.
- Publishers Clearing House will never notify winners over the phone, so even people who have entered should be extremely suspicious if they receive a call at home.
- Find out more about the number where the suspicious call came from. Using caller ID, take down the ten digit number and use NumberInvestigator.com to find out more information about the caller or business associated with the number, including name, address, and to see if there have been other complaints lodged against the number.
- A legitimate sweepstakes will never ask winners to send money to claim a prize.
- Report suspicious calls to NumberInvestigator.com. Here, consumers have built a community around reporting and preventing phone scams and fraudulent telemarketing schemes by sharing offending numbers and reports with their fellow consumers.
NumberInvestigator.com is a leading provider of reverse phone lookup services that enable consumers to simply search a number, including cell numbers (where available), landline numbers and VoIP to accurately find the owner of that number. NumberInvestigator.com empowers consumers with a community of users that report and share suspicious or malicious calls and the phone numbers associated with them.