SPOKANE, Wash – Dreams of hitting it big have left yet another Spokane area man in a $1,000 jam.
Kathy Barton doesn't know how the scammers got her 81-year-old uncle's phone number, but they did. And a woman who identified herself as the CEO of Publisher's Clearinghouse, Deborah Holland, wouldn't stop calling.
She told Kathy's uncle he'd won the Mega-Millions prize, but needed to send in $5,000 to cover the taxes before he could get his $100,000 weekly prize.
He wired $1,000 to Georgia, but then the woman kept calling asking for more.
"Just like anybody, they're excited thinking they're going to win, and hopefully somebody will win, but obviously they'll be contacted in the proper way," Barton said.
But according to the BBB, her uncle isn't the first person to fall for it.
"Our Better Business Bureau [in Spokane] gets 8-10 calls a week from people mentioning Publisher's Clearinghouse scams," BBB Spokesperson Chelsea Maguire told KHQ. "And if 10 people contact us, we know a lot more than that are actually being contacted."
The real Publisher's Clearinghouse will never ask you for money. If you really are a winner, taxes will be taken out before you get your prize. If you win more than $10,000 a person will come to your door, if it's less than that, you'll get a certified letter.
But never send money.
"I think this is a terrible thing, and I wish they could catch up with this person so she's not doing it to other people," Barton added. "It's a strain on the older folks, and they're the ones they target the most."