Scam Using Oprah's Name Targets Lubbock Woman - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/29/08

Scam Using Oprah's Name Targets Lubbock Woman

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A Lubbock woman received a check with a letter claiming it was from Publishers Clearing House and the Oprah Winfrey "O" Magazine. "I opened it up and I saw Oprah Winfrey. Hmmm, that's interesting. Publisher's Clearing House, that's legitimate," she said. 

She had been scammed before, and it had a lasting effect on her both financially and emotionally, but with well known names like Publishers Clearing House and Oprah, she wondered if maybe it was legitimate. "They ask you, please contact your representative without any delay before, in red, depositing this check," she said. 

She did contact the representative listed, but was careful not to give out any personal information. She took her check to the bank, and they told her the almost $6,000 check was a fake.

Greg Jones of American State Bank says it isn't unusual for scams to target older people. "Many times maybe someone who is more vulnerable, maybe the elderly people, people that are willing to talk to the scam artist in the first place," said Jones.

Jones warns people if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, "They shouldn't have to pay for a free gift, they should avoid entering foreign lotteries, avoid wiring money to somebody they don't know."

Jones also advises you to never give information out on the phone, check your bank and credit card statements regularly, and if you have any questions about a check, take it to your bank. They can usually tell if a check is real by checking the type of paper it's printed on, the ink used on the micro-encoding or if the check has perforated edges.

We called Publishers Clearing House, and they confirmed it is a scam and that their company has nothing to do with the letter.

We also called the contact number on the letter. When we said it was NewsChannel 11 calling, they hung up and did not return our calls.

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