Don’t be a victim of the Publisher’s Clearing House Scam!
There has been an increase in Publisher’s Clearing House (PCH) scams in our area.
- Have you received a phone call, letter or email recently saying you’ve won the PCH sweepstakes?
- Has the caller asked you to keep this a secret and not to tell your friends and family so they can be surprised?
- Did the caller ask you to send cash, money order, Cashier check, wire funds or gift cards to PCH, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or an individual for the taxes on the winnings, processing fees or maybe it’s for the shipping and handling of a new car?
If you answered yes to any of these, it is a scam! PCH will never call you ahead of time to announce you won. PCH will never ask you to send money to anyone. Paying to collect a prize at all is a scam. The scammers want you to believe you have won and that you will receive the big winnings once you pay the taxes or fees. These scammers are very convincing and generally targeting the elderly, however everyone needs to be aware.
Remember to never give out personal information or send money to anyone you don’t know or trust. If you ever are questioning if you are caught in a scam, don’t hesitate to contact First National Bank of Moose Lake at (218) 485-4441 and we would be happy to further assist you as best as we can.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, immediately contact the financial institution or company you sent the funds through and contact your local Police Department. Stop all communication with the scammer immediately.
Be Aware of the Software Scam
A current scam we are seeing a lot of lately is the software scam. Scammers will call or send pop-up messages that say your computer has been hacked or has detected viruses and you must contact the number listed immediately. They will claim to be from tech support and likely:
- Claim to be from a well-known company.
- Ask you to give them remote access to your computer which lets them change your computer settings so your computer is vulnerable to attack.
- Trick you into installing malware that gives them access to your computer and sensitive data, like usernames and passwords.
Once they are allowed access to the computer they will “find” the virus or malware and say it has been cleaned up, offer free “security” scans that are false, then charge you for their services like:
- Sell you software that’s worthless, or that you could get elsewhere for free.
- Enroll you in a false computer maintenance or warranty program.
If you get an unexpected pop-up, call, spam email or other urgent message about problems with your computer, stop. Hang up. Delete the email. Don’t click on any links. Don’t give control of your computer and don’t send any money. Unfortunately, you should not be trusting caller ID either. Scammers know how to use caller ID and pose as a legitimate company.
If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly – but don’t use the phone number in the pop-up or on caller ID. Instead, look for the company’s contact information online, or on a software package or your receipt.
Never share passwords or give control of your computer to anyone who contacts you.
- Disconnect the Wi-Fi/internet and turn off your computer. Then contact your security software company or a reputable IT company to scan your computer.
- Change passwords on every account.
If you paid for bogus service charges, contact the financial institution that your check, debit card, credit card etc. is drawn off of and ask them to stop or reverse the charge. Then, report it to ftc.gov/complaint.
Don’t fall for the refund scam. The refund scam typically works like this:
Several months after a purchase, someone calls to ask if you were happy with the service. If you say “No”, the scammer offers a refund. Or, the caller says the company is going out of business and giving refunds. The scammer eventually asks for your bank or credit card account number, or asks for access to your bank account to make a deposit. But instead of putting money in your account, the scammer takes money from your account.
If you get a call like this, hang up, and report it: ftc.gov/complaint.