Police warn of Publishers Clearing House phone scam

If by chance you win the Publishers Clearing House contest, just like on TV, the Prize Patrol will show up with balloons. A phone scam going around Homer tries to scam victims into thinking otherwise. Don’t fall for it, Homer Police warned in a press release on Aug. 7.
In the scam, someone with a foreign accent calls saying you’ve won a prize in the Publishers Clearing House contest. In one call received by the Homer News, the scam artist, calling himself “John Ford,” said to call a phone number that an Internet reverse look-up search showed is a Kingston, Jamaica, number. When “Ford” called back, he denied being from Jamaica and said he was from New York. When asked about the Prize Patrol, he said they were on their way. “Ford” hung up when asked to provide identifying information such as his office name and address.
Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said police have received several complaints recently. The scammers tried to get personal information or to have people send them processing fees.
“Don’t send them money, don’t give them account numbers, no personal information, not even your mailing address,” Robl said.
That’s also general advice for any phone solicitation not coming from a trusted source. Sometimes scam artists get information from Facebook profiles and are trying to get the last bit of information like a birth date to steal someone’s identity.
Robl also said people receiving scam phone calls should report it to the Homer Police.
On its website, Publishers Clearing House warned of the Jamaican phone scam. It says people should be aware of an unsolicited phone call coming from the Jamaican area code of 876. Do not wire or send money for any reason. Publishers Clearing House never asks for money to be sent to claim a prize. Major prizes of $10,000 or more are awarded in person, unannounced, by the Prize Patrol, or through notice in a certified letter.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.