Publisher’s Clearing House scam: Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Prize Patrol.

This was a new one on me.

The other day, a REGIONAL member called the credit union because he had received an interesting phone call.

The caller claimed to represent Publisher’s Clearing House and informed the member that he had won something like three million dollars, and that the Prize Patrol would be stopping by his house that day.

However, in order to claim his prize, he had to pay some sort of fee up front—$3,500, to be paid via wire transfer immediately or the prize would be forfeit.

Well, our member didn’t take the bait at all. It was yet another version of the same old advance fee fraud.

I wondered if this was a local job, since Publisher’s Clearing House was kind of a goofy choice. Well-organized fraud rings are usually a little sneakier than that (they’re just as easy to see through, though, if you’re paying attention).

No matter, though—the takeaway here is that in a legitimate sweepstakes, you never send money first in order to claim your winnings.