North Carolina couple says they were scammed out of $100K

January 10, 2020 GMT

SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina couple says they were scammed out of $100,000 in the pursuit of winning a fake $10 million sweepstakes, according to the sheriff’s office and the victims.

A few months ago, the Rowan County couple said they received a call from representatives claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House, a company that offers sweepstakes and prizes. A man on the phone told them they had won a $10 million prize, but they needed to pay 1% up front to secure it, according to the county sheriff’s office.

The victims were convinced when the suspects followed up with falsified documents claiming to be from the Better Business Bureau, the IRS and a U.S. senator, WBTV reported.

The couple sent $100,000 worth of laptops, jewelry and watches as well as $75,000 in gift cards to addresses given by the suspects. When they realized it was a scam, they asked for their money back, but it never came. They’ve since gone into debt paying off the goods.

On its website, Publishers Clearing House advises that if anyone tells you to pay a fee or pre-taxes to claim a prize, the call is likely fraudulent. Capt. John Sifford added that he hadn’t heard of any contests that would require you to pay up front to claim winnings.