There is only a 1 in more than 1 billion chance of snagging the top Publishers Clearing House prize of $1,000,000 a year for life, but the odds of getting scammed are much higher if you believe phony letters or phone calls.
"When I got that call, I was so excited, I thought oh my God I'm finally winning something and it wasn't. It just really took me, it really took me."
Dorothy was told she won publishers clearing house $1 million dollar prize and a brand new Mercedes. All she needed to do was pay the taxes and fees and they would deliver the winnings.
The instructions on how to send the money were very specific.
"He would tell me how to package it, put it in a double envelope, wrap it in newspaper and send it through the US Mail and I know better than to send money through the mail, but I did it," said Dorothy.
You may ask why she did it anyway. This mother of three admits she got lost in her dream for the money.
This hopeful notion of winning is what helps scam artists string victims along, including telling them the prize is on the way.
A chance visit from Dorothy's son made her realize this was all a scam.
"Why are you all dressed up?" and I said "I'm expecting a prize." He said really, and he kind of figured it out himself, the longer he was here and nobody showed up that it was a scam.
No prize ever came.
Conmen often try use the well-known Publishers Clearing House name because consumers know the brand but postal inspectors say this is a red flag.
"Publishers Clearing House would NOT just call you, so do your due diligence, I mean, you want to make sure that person really is who they say they are," said U.S. Postal Inspector Tammy Mayle.
Postal inspectors want to remind all consumers that *NO* legitimate lottery or prize will ask for money in order to claim the prize.
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