REPORT: Woman Thinks She Won Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, Ends Up Being Swindled Out Of $669,000

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Scammers led a Troy woman to believe that she won a national sweepstakes competition, persuading her to hand over $669,500 to secure her non-existent winnings, according to a report Wednesday.

The scammers informed the Detroit woman by mail that she had won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, and for several months, she sent money to a fake attorney to ‘secure’ the prize and ‘store’ a fake car she had ‘won,’ according to CBS News. She only realized she may have been scammed when she related the events to a friend, and alerted the Troy Police Department on March 17, the outlet reported.

Similar incidents appear to have occurred elsewhere in the country. Scammers claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes reportedly targeted residents in Virginia earlier in March. They requested an ‘administrative fee’ for the fake prizes, according to the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, WRIC Richmond reported. (RELATED: Fraudsters Make Off With A Chunk Of Andy Cohen’s Money)

Although younger people may be more prone to digital scams, like identity theft and data gathering, traditional phone and mail fraud are a particular concern for older citizens, with Psychology Today noting that in 2021, over 90,000 Americans over age 65 were victims of fraud.

“Financial scammers often target seniors, thinking that seniors are not of sound mind and that they have plenty of money in the bank,” the outlet reported.