Rowan Sheriff’s Office: Couple scammed out of $85,000
By Shavonne Walker
WOODLEAF — A Woodleaf couple were scammed out of $85,000 worth of cash and items they bought after they believed they had won $10 million in the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
On Jan. 5, a 66-year-old woman called the Rowan Sheriff’s Office to say that she and her husband, 69, received a call two months ago from someone they initially believed was from Publisher’s Clearing House. The caller told them they won $10 million, but to receive it they would have to pay first.
The woman was given a number to call with instructions. She was to pay 1 percent of the amount won to claim it, said Capt. John Sifford.
The couple were told to send $3,800 worth of jewelry from Belk, $4,000 worth of laptops from Staples, $2,070 for laptops and an Apple watch to an address in Hilton Head, S.C. The couple paid $75,000 in Visa gift cards.
The caller told the pair to read him the numbers on the gift cards and they did. They were also asked to send money via Western Union to an offshore account in the Bahamas, but the company refused to send the money.
A Sheriff’s deputy looked the telephone number up on Google, which corresponded with a number for the Jamaican lottery. Sifford said throughout the two months, the woman had received several calls saying she had won a vehicle. She was told a Mercedes Benz would be delivered to her and then a Lexus.
The woman then told the caller she wanted her money back. She was told she could have it back, if she paid the taxes on it.
She was told she had two boxes of money that had been delivered to a UPS in Salisbury. The woman called and an employee said she had no package.
According to Sifford, the couple had gone into debt to make these purchases.
He said it is his understanding that the Publisher’s Clearing House does not charge the winner anything to receive earnings and it’s likely the couple will never get their money back.
“If someone contacts you claiming to be from PCH, and tells you that you’ve won a prize — then asks you to send a payment or money card in order to claim the prize – STOP! You have not heard from the real PCH, “according to Publisher’s Clearing House website.