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Voice of the Consumer: 2 big scams still going strong in Colorado Springs and beyond

By: BETTY SEXTON KKTV 11 News
October 24, 2016 Updated: October 24, 2016 at 12:09 pm
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If you wonder why I often report on the same scams it's because they're big and they keep popping up.

Take the crooks who claim you won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Jim in Widefield wanted me to share his story so you wouldn't fall for it.

Jim regularly plays the Publishers Clearing House Lotto game on Facebook and Twitter, so to him it wasn't such a stretch to think he had won PCH cash. He said his wife received a notice in the mail that she won $600,000. She was supposed to call a New York number to get the money.

The letter was signed by Deborah Holland, and if you check, you'll find a Deborah Holland does work for PCH. But this letter wasn't from her. It was from a crook who sent the family a fake check for $12,000.

Jim was instructed to deposit it and then pay $6,500 worth of taxes and fees, then they would get their winnings. Jim decided to have his credit union look at the check, and it told him it was a fake.

Jim said a man who claims he is Andrew Baldwin keeps calling, trying to get him to wire the $6,500. Jim was hoping the El Paso County Sheriff's Office could track down Baldwin, but he was told that Andrew is probably in Jamaica.

PCH never alerts their grand prize winners that they've won. It's always a surprise like you see on television. The Prize Patrol shows up unannounced with balloons, roses, and a big check. If you get any kind of correspondence claiming you've won the sweepstakes, it's a lie.

The bad guys will do anything to convince you to send them cash.

The grandparent scam has also recently surfaced. This one targets seniors with a phone call from someone who claims to be a grandchild in need of help. Corky, a former Call for Action volunteer, got such a call last week. She thought the young man sounded just like her grandson, who's away at college, and begged for her to send his attorney cash. Corky said she was frantic and dropped everything to help him.

Corky said she debunked by contacting her personal attorney. His staffers couldn't find the grandson's attorney. They also told her the way Corky was supposed to pay was bizarre - by buying gift cards and reading him the numbers off the back of the cards.

Remember, if you get a suspicious call from someone claiming to be a loved one in distress, ask them a question only family knows. Also, hang up and call the grandchild or call another family member. The bad guys count on you to panic, not think clearly and react.

Your best bet is to take a deep breath, think through your actions, and get advice from someone you trust. Always know you can count on us to help. Our 11 Call for Action hotline is 457-8211.

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Contact Betty Sexton at bsexton@kktv11news.com or 457-8214.

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