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Publishers Clearing House scam hits Georgia: PCH scam criminals more dangerous

The legitimate PCH Prize Patrol team members Dave Sayer and Danielle Lam.

Scam artists are getting more brazen about trying to trick Publishers Clearing House fans out of their money. And the Dalton Police Department (DPD) reports those criminals now want to meet their victims in person rather than asking for a bank credit card number over the phone, according to WTVC Channel 9 News on April 8, 2014.

The latest scam effort is likely the result of the Publishers Prize Patrol team members Danielle Lam and Dave Sayer doing everything they can on social media to educate their fans about the kinds of PCH scams to watch out for right now. Thus the criminals are changing their modus operandi (MO). Instead of asking for money to be sent to them via mail, they now want to show up at the victim's home like the Prize Patrol do. But they want to collect money, not give it.

The Daily Citizen News reported that one man was told that after he loaded $850 onto a Walmart gift card he could expect a visit from a PCH "representative" with his prize, and that the rep would show up with a Brinks truck in tow and a police escort. That's supposed to make the person feel "safe" about the big money delivery and cash pickup, obviously. But it is not how the real company operates. And you can be assured that the Dalton Police Department and other law enforcement agencies are not present when Publishers hands out their real checks to their sweepstakes winners.

They don't have to be, because no one ever knows in advance when PCH's Prize Patrol team will show up at their door with balloons, roses and a great Big Check. In fact, the most recent winner found that out when she was visiting relatives in another state last month as Danielle, Dave and Todd sought to deliver her a big cash prize at her home in Oregon.

Publishers is set to give away $7,000 a week for life in their April 30 giveaway this month, so criminals see it as an opportune time to try and fool the sweepstakes company's fans on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. They use a lot of different ruses, typically telling a person contacted by phone or online that they have won a prize, but they will need to pay taxes in advance of getting the money. This latest scam revision to meet the victim in person is more troubling, as it could lead to more than financial victimization.

You don't ever have to pay taxes or fees for Publishers Clearing House prizes in advance of getting them. You don't do that with any sweepstakes win. But people who have never won such a prize this way before are more likely to not know that information. And that is what the criminal is counting on as PCH continues to promote their big SuperPrize this month.

No one is exempt from such a contact, including yours truly, who just received an email from someone claiming to be "Danielle Lam of the PCH Prize Patrol team" on April 8, replete with a NY contact phone number (not to PCH, of course) and an email address. I will not bore you with the alleged communication from the fictional Ms. Lam, but in the one in a billion chance that it is true, then Danielle, just post me a message on your real Danielle Lam PCH Prize Patrol Facebook page, and then (only then) will I give you a ring at the number you gave me.

The Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics. And she hopes PCH decides to come to her house in Georgia this month, so she can write all about it. But PCH scammers need not even try, as she is on a first-name basis with local police.

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