After getting a phone call from a local man who received mail about a bogus sweepstakes prize, Houston Police Department Chief Jim McNiell has issued a warning to area citizens to beware of the scam.

Houston Police Department Chief Jim McNiell has issued a warning to area citizens about a scam involving a supposed cash prize presented by Publisher’s Clearing House and other firms.

McNiell said he was contacted Monday morning by a Houston man who said he had received paperwork in the mail indicating he was the winner of a $1.5 million third prize in a drawing sponsored by the Publisher’s Clearing House, Reader’s Digest, Mega Millions and the Multi-State Lottery Association. A letter addressed to the man stated that a check for $5,965.25 that was enclosed (and made out to the man) was his to use to cover “insurance, handling, shipping and attorney fees.”

Included instructions said the man should call a number provided and speak to a female representative who would help process his claim and guide him through sending his “fees” so he could receive his winnings. The letter even contained a security code the man was to give the representative, in order to “prevent unlawful tampering and reduce risks of fraud and scams.”

McNiell said the man told him he had called the woman, brought up deceit and she hung up on him.

The bogus check made out to the man was from a company with an address in Atwater Calif., and submitted by a bank in “Marced” (correct spelling of the Central Valley city is “Merced”). The man said he searched online for the address of the company and it came back to a sports store in Atwater.

McNiell said the man stated he called Publisher’s Clearing House and was told by a representative that “a legitimate sweepstakes would never require you to send money to enter, claim a prize or pay a fee, tax or deposit.”

“We all need to remember that when a check is no good and you deposit it, you’re responsible to the bank for that money,” McNiell said. “I would like to caution people that if you see a Publisher’s Clearing House promotion or get-rich scheme that asks you to send money, stop – it’s not legitimate.”

Publisher’s Clearing House is aware of the scam and has posted a letter addressing it online at http//:info.pch.com/consumer-information/fraud-protection.

The Publisher’s Clearing House has issued a warning letter with regard to the scam described in this article. Click here to read it:

http//:info.pch.com/consumer-information/fraud-protection

We all need to remember that when a check is no good and you deposit it, you’re responsible to the bank for that money.”

A letter received by a local man describing how he won a bogus sweepstakes prize and what he needed to do to claim it.

A bogus check received by a local man, supposedly for use to cover fees in his claim for a $1.5 million sweepstakes prize.

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