On Your Side
Sweepstakes scammers, hit the Treasure Valley, claiming you've won millions
Jennifer Auh reports on a sweepstakes scam that is hitting the Treasure Valley. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
It’s many people's dream come true, finding out you’ve won millions! However, for one family, it turned out to be too good to be true.
Erma Crombie of Nampa said early Wednesday morning, she received a call from a man, claiming to represent the Publishers Clearing House. He told her she won $2.5 million! “[The caller said] U.S. Marshals will be delivering your check,” she said.
According to Crombie, the caller told her to go to the nearest Walgreens to purchase a money card to deposit $350 for the Marshal's services. Then, the caller asked for the card numbers.
"I was just lucky when I scratched the numbers off and ruined the card,” said Larry Bates, relative.
It was an accident that was a blessing in disguise. It gave Crombie a moment to calm down and think about what was going on.
Following their gut instinct, Crombie and her son called the main line of the real Publishers Clearing House Company. Then, the PCH representative told them they never call the winner or bring U.S. Marshals to deliver the big check. In other words, the person who called them was a scammer.
It was a close call, as it turns out the scammer would have been able to access the deposited $350 with the card numbers.
The Better Business Bureau said one man from the Treasure Valley lost a whopping $90,000 to a similar scam.
As for Crombie, she said the money card company agreed to fully refund her money. So, Crombie didn’t end up a millionaire, but she still calls it a happy ending. “Somebody was watching out for us!” she said.
Experts said people can help stop this kind of scam by reporting it to the BBB and the Publishers Clearing House's Abuse Team.