BBB warns northeast Ohio seniors about Publishers Clearing House scam

CLEVELAND - Jeanne Lyon couldn't believe it when the caller at the other end of the phone said she had won $1 million from Publishers Clearing House.

"I'm thinking of all the people I would help," she said. "I have 23 nieces and nephews and I thought I'd put some in a trust for them."

It just so happens that Jeanne had recently received a Publishers Clearing House mailing and responded to it. But something wasn't right, and Jeanne could feel it.

The caller wanted Jeanne to provide him with $1,500 through Green Dot MoneyPak cards so he could have the money expressed to her from Germany. Then he needed another $4,000. Then $7,995 to pay state troopers to escort the prize money to her house. By now, Jeanne was sure it was a scam and she called the Better Business Bureau.

"We're warning people that if you get a call from someone claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House or any lottery or sweepstakes, and they tell you that you've won money but you have to pay something to get it, that it's a scam," said Sue McConnell, senior vice-president of the Better Business Bureau.

McConnell said Jeanne may never get back the $5,500 she lost in the scam, because the criminals are typically somewhere overseas and law enforcement officers have difficulty tracking them down.

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