W.Va. AG warns of Publishers Clearing House scam

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - Consumers are warned to be on the lookout for a Publishers Clearing House scam that continues to be reported around West Virginia.

A few people have reportedly fallen victim since after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey sent out an alert in June when a fake letter with the state seal of West Virginia, supposedly signed by the governor and bearing the Attorney General’s name, surfaced.

It claimed that Attorney General Morrisey flew to New York to meet with the Board of Directors of Publishers Clearing House to negotiate the prize for the recipient of the letter.

Scammers have been known to use familiar names to lure consumers into a false sense of trust and unquestioned acceptance which leads them to give the scammers money to claim the supposed prize.

“I want to reiterate the importance of looking for warning signs such as unusual word choices in the letter or improper grammar,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Most importantly, never give money to a scammer or allow them to access your credit card or computer.”

Although Publishers Clearing House does award prizes, Morrisey said there are some things to look for to verify the legitimacy of any win:

  • Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are free to enter and winners never pay to receive their prize.
  • Consumers should never agree to send cash, wire money, buy gift cards or provide account numbers associated with a credit/debit card or bank in order to claim a prize.
  • Publishers Clearing House representatives also will never call winners or ask for personal information. They instead notify winners in-person or via certified mail.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online.