Belle Vernon woman foils phone scam
By Chris Buckley
Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Dorothy Moss has been buying products from Publishers Clearing House for years.
Still, she was suspicious when she started getting telephone calls last week from a man telling her she had just won $100,000 from the organization — especially when the caller told the 90-year-old Belle Vernon woman she would have to send in a $250 check to claim her prize.
“I didn't understand why I had to pay to collect,” Moss said.
So Moss called Southwest Regional Police, who advised her it was a scam and not to do anything. Moss was instructed to tell the caller that police would like to talk to him.
Moss said while the caller was persistent, she was too.
“I told him, ‘I'm not giving you $250,'” Moss said. “He finally said, ‘I'll get back to you.'”
Southwest Regional Police traced the call to a residence in Compton, Calif. The department notified the Los Angeles Police Department, which is investigating the case as well.
Southwest police Chief John Hartman sent LAPD a photo of the location where Moss was instructed to mail the $250 check.
“The caller had the nerve to call her back and say, ‘We called the police and they said it's OK to send a check,'” Hartman said. “I told her absolutely not.
“Legitimate sweepstakes do not ask you to pay money to collect. Clearly, this was a scam.”
Hartman said he has not heard of the scam occurring with any other local residents, but said he may hear from other potential victims now that the scam has been made public.
Hartman said his department remains in contact with LAPD.
“If we can identify the person who called, we will file charges,” Hartman said. “If we get enough evidence, we will file charges.”
Moss said she hopes going public with the would-be scam will prevent others from falling prey to the crime.
“They're preying on elderly people who don't have much money,” Moss said.
Publishers Clearing House is a firm based in Port Washington, N.Y., that sells merchandise and magazine subscriptions. The company uses online and direct-mail sweepstakes, contests and prize promotions to market its products.
Hartman said Publishers Clearing House is a legitimate company.
Moss agrees. On Monday, she sent in a new order to Publishers Clearing House.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Charges mounting in Monessen drug case
- St. Molokai parish ruling imminent
- 4 Donora men to stand trial for Rostraver hotel incident
- Monessen teen in court for drug charges
- Finleyville Food Pantry always in need of donations, volunteers
- Pa. health secretary to tour SPHS facility
- Ringgold students to stage ‘Tarzan’ for spring musical
- Charleroi students stage ‘The Wizard of Oz’
- Carroll Township man enjoys diversified career
- Event to highlight economic opportunities provided by Mon River
- Don’t be influenced by short-term economic turmoil