Officials with the Shoals Better Business Bureau said there’s a letter scam in the area under the guise of Publishers Clearing House.
The letters are on official-looking letterhead targeting older residents. The letter claims the recipient has won $2.6 million and when the individual calls the listed phone number, a $1,465 processing fee is requested.
Florence resident Donald Marroletti received the suspicious letter last week. He called the two numbers listed. One was disconnected. A man answered the second number and told Marroletti how much money was required and to send it to New Mexico. On Tuesday morning Marroletti was contacted by the same man.
“I’ve always been told if something seems to good to be true, it is,” Marroletti said. “We just want to warn other people that this is a scam. The man I talked to spoke with very broken English.”
Christie Yeiser, regional vice president for the Better Business Bureau in the Shoals, said such scams are not uncommon, but there are some key clues people can use to identify a scam.
“You’ll never have to send money if you’ve actually won something,” she said. “No legitimate company operates that way. These scams are clever because they package themselves with information from legitimate companies, like the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.”
The letter also claims Chase Bank is handling the transactions.
Yeiser said it appears this particular scam is a resurgence of an old scheme, although unlike many similar schemes it doesn’t include a fake check in the letter.
“The best thing an individual could do after receiving a call or letter alleging a monetary gift, is to call the consumer line of the Better Business Bureau and check it out.” The number is 256-740-8224 or go online at bbb.org.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.