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Don’t become an April Fool – be on the lookout for these scams

Allen Lanter Sr. of Pulaski would like to warn his fellow citizens of a potential scam that may be circulating in the area.
Lanter said he received a telephone call Tuesday from a man offering to sell him and his family members burial insurance for $1 a month. The catch was that he needed to provide the caller with his checking account number.
He asked the caller how the caller got his telephone number, but the caller just said he would see that no one bothers him again.
Lanter said he suspects the call was a scam designed to get people’s banking account information.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers should never be given to telemarketers, unfamiliar companies or other unknown persons.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) office serving Western Virginia also issued a warning Tuesday afternoon for consumers to be aware of a scam involving letters that appear to be from Publishers Clearing House.
The letters claim that the recipient has won a grand prize drawing of $1 million as the second place winner of a drawing sponsored by Reader’s Digest Magazine. Despite how official the letters might look, the recipient is the target of a widespread scam that is seeing a sudden resurgence across the country, the BBB says.
“Perhaps, not surprisingly, the increased prevalence of this scam comes on the heels of the actual Publishers Clearing House awarding a New Jersey woman $5,000 a week for the rest of her life,” said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson. “Scammers often steal their hooks from the headlines and operate in the wake of newsworthy events, such as Publishers Clearing House giving out a prize, because they know it’ll be on top of people’s minds.”
The letter in the Publishers Clearing House scam is accompanied by a check for as much as $5,900 with instructions to call the Publishers Clearing House representative listed in the letter. Over the phone, the victims are told that, in order to receive their prize, they must cash the check and then wire approximately $4,000 to Publishers Clearing House and then the rest of the winnings will be sent to them.
The check, however, is fraudulent and any money wired to the scammers cannot be recovered, BBB reports.
Since early March, reports of the scam have come in from 19 states including California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Not only are letters popping up in mailboxes, but some people report receiving phone calls from scammers pretending to be with Publishers Clearing House as well.
While this scam predominantly takes advantage of individuals, business owners also need to be aware that their company’s name could potentially be used by fraudsters to pull off this con. The fraudulent checks sent to the supposed prize winners are copies of stolen checks from legitimate.
Businesses located in Alabama, California, Kansas and West Virginia have discovered that their checks—which included their name, address and even account number—were reproduced as part of the scam.

For more information contact BBB at (540) 342-3455 or online at www.vawest.bbb.org.

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Don’t become an April Fool – be on the lookout for these scams

Allen Lanter Sr. of Pulaski would like to warn his fellow citizens of a potential scam that may be circulating in the area.
Lanter said he received a telephone call Tuesday from a man offering to sell him and his family members burial insurance for $1 a month. The catch was that he needed to provide the caller with his checking account number.
He asked the caller how the caller got his telephone number, but the caller just said he would see that no one bothers him again.
Lanter said he suspects the call was a scam designed to get people’s banking account information.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers should never be given to telemarketers, unfamiliar companies or other unknown persons.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) office serving Western Virginia also issued a warning Tuesday afternoon for consumers to be aware of a scam involving letters that appear to be from Publishers Clearing House.
The letters claim that the recipient has won a grand prize drawing of $1 million as the second place winner of a drawing sponsored by Reader’s Digest Magazine. Despite how official the letters might look, the recipient is the target of a widespread scam that is seeing a sudden resurgence across the country, the BBB says.
“Perhaps, not surprisingly, the increased prevalence of this scam comes on the heels of the actual Publishers Clearing House awarding a New Jersey woman $5,000 a week for the rest of her life,” said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson. “Scammers often steal their hooks from the headlines and operate in the wake of newsworthy events, such as Publishers Clearing House giving out a prize, because they know it’ll be on top of people’s minds.”
The letter in the Publishers Clearing House scam is accompanied by a check for as much as $5,900 with instructions to call the Publishers Clearing House representative listed in the letter. Over the phone, the victims are told that, in order to receive their prize, they must cash the check and then wire approximately $4,000 to Publishers Clearing House and then the rest of the winnings will be sent to them.
The check, however, is fraudulent and any money wired to the scammers cannot be recovered, BBB reports.
Since early March, reports of the scam have come in from 19 states including California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Not only are letters popping up in mailboxes, but some people report receiving phone calls from scammers pretending to be with Publishers Clearing House as well.
While this scam predominantly takes advantage of individuals, business owners also need to be aware that their company’s name could potentially be used by fraudsters to pull off this con. The fraudulent checks sent to the supposed prize winners are copies of stolen checks from legitimate.
Businesses located in Alabama, California, Kansas and West Virginia have discovered that their checks—which included their name, address and even account number—were reproduced as part of the scam.

For more information contact BBB at (540) 342-3455 or online at www.vawest.bbb.org.

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