Joyce says the man on the other end of the phone used the name Dave Davenport. He claimed he was with the FTC, Federal Trade Commission. Dave told Joyce before she could claim her prize, she had to pay a fee first. He told her Publishers Clearing House would issue her a cashier's check from Costa Rica once she wired him the funds.
Joyce was told to call 702-765-4524 and talk to an associate with Random House Publishing. He would give her directions so she could collect her $380,000 prize.
You probably can see the holes in Dave's story. There are several. First, the FTC doesn't call people and tell them they've won prizes. That's not their job. Publishers Clearing House does run several sweepstakes, but it doesn't keep its money in Costa Rican banks. Plus, Random House isn't connected to Publishers Clearing House... yes winners are selected at "random"... but Publishers isn't part of the Random Family.
Also, Random House is located in New York, so why was Joyce given a number to call Random in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Joyce didn't understand why she got this call. I don't have an explanation for that. Crooks use disposable cell phones and make random calls all the time. The bad guys are also known for sharing the phone numbers of their victims.
Joyce did the right thing and called me before wiring any funds and that's good news. Remember, you should never have to pay a "fee" or "service charge" for winning a sweepstakes. Yes, you will have to pay taxes to Uncle Sam... but that's a step you can take on your own... independent of the prize process.
If you get a call like Joyce did and are a tiny bit skeptical... call me. I'll be happy to check it out for you.
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