COLORADO SPRINGS — Publishers Clearing House says the “Prize of a lifetime” will be given away on Sunday, April 30th and even the company itself is warning about imposters contacting people saying they’ve won. We’ve seen these kinds of attacks on News5 viewers year after year and cybersecurity experts say hackers are gathering people’s information right now as they plan more targeted and convincing attacks this time around.
“So this was his voicemail, Call us back. You are the winner of $2.5 Million and a check of $5,000 a week for the rest of your life,” said Robin Palazzolo in Colorado Springs.
This call was supposedly from the popular Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. Robin says she was shocked to get the midweek afternoon phone call but hoped it was real.
”I thought wow, I’m a winner, everyone does,” she said.
She was told she just had to pay money to cover the “Prize Patrol” visit. It was the red flag that helped her avoid following up with the person publisher’s clearing house identified as an imposter.
With Publishers Clearing House set to give out a life-changing prize of $15 Million at the end of April, it is warning about more imposter contacts trying to convince people to give up money and sensitive information to claim a bogus prize.
News5 spoke with Elainewho lives in Pueblo and was told on the phone by an imposter she won $3,000,000.
"I was one of them, I didn't say they weren't happening, I just said it had never happened to me. These scam calls do happen. they are scary," she said.
The experts at the National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs are warning consumers that due to data breaches and hacking the imposter calls, emails, and messages will likely be more targeted this time around.
"They have your information already. They already know what you’re looking out for. So while you may be looking for that million dollar giveaway or whatever it is, a highly emotional event, you can get that information and it looks even more real,” said Micki Cockrille of the National Cybersecurity Center.
According to Publishers Clearing House:
- It will never call, email, or text to say you are a winner as contacts are made in person
- Winning is always free. It will never ask you for payments of any kind upfront
- It will never send you a check and ask you to send back some of the money
For more information on potential fraud and ways to report contacts from imposters visit the Publisher's Clearing House page on fraud protection.
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