Police: Somerset County pair lose thousands in prize scam | TribLIVE.com

Police: Somerset County pair lose thousands in prize scam

Jeff Himler

Two Somerset County residents were scammed out of thousands of dollars by a man who claimed they’d won millions of dollars worth of prizes, state police said.

Police said a 42-year-old Confluence man and a 61-year-old Stonycreek Township woman were contacted by a man who claimed to be a Publishers Clearing House employee and coaxed them into believing they’d won millions of dollars, a new vehicle and $5,000 a week for life.

As a result, the pair mailed thousands of dollars to the unknown man between Aug. 14 and Friday, police said.

Police said there are no suspects in what appears to be part of a large-scale fraud ring.

In a similar incident, state police said an 88-year-0ld Westmoreland County woman in January was scammed out of $58,000 in cash and prepaid gift cards by a man who identified himself as a Publishers Clearing House executive.

In that case, police said, the woman handed the money and cards in person to the man, known only as “Dave,” at a Sunoco gas station on Humphrey Road in Hempfield. The suspect was described as a black man driving a tan car.

Publishers Clearing House provides tips to help people guard against becoming the victim of a fraudulent prize scam, including:

• Publishers Clearing House does not notify sweepstakes winners by phone or email.

• The company does not request winners to send money or provide personal financial information.

• No purchase is necessary to win, and winning is always free.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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