Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. I received email from publishers clearing house saying ive won and I really want to claim my prize but everyone tells me not to. Can you tell me if they are criminal or the real publishers clearing house? I can forward the emails to you if you need them.
Dear Juneau Resident,
The sad truth is the email is 99.99% likely to be a scam. If you were to contact them it is likely there would be 'fees' associated with claiming the 'prize' and the person would want a credit card number. If you respond that might put you on a list for other scammers because you have been marked as a responsive target. The best advice is to delete the email. If you feel you must check this out, send an email back asking for the home location of the business office, a list of the board of directors with contact information, the state where the organization is registered as having a license to run such a contest. If this information is provided, and it probably will not be, then do your homework. Be prepared to change your email after responding.
Some very smart people have fallen for these scams, including people in Juneau, who provided thousands upon thousands of dollars to mostly out of country scam artists. What happened each time is the person gave into greed and kept giving chunks of money trying to get this big pot of gold that they felt would solve all their and their families problems.
JPD doesn't offer to research each potential scam to say if it's real because we would be overwhelmed will all the fake 'prizes' that get mailed or emailed to our residents. We advise people to not participate, if it seems too good to be real, it is. If someone becomes a victim then we will open a case but investigation and prosecution is resource intensive and legally problematic because of suspects being in another country, often Nigeria or other African nations, but bouncing emails through servers all over the world. If you are scammed out of a large amount of money, like over $50,000, there is more of a chance federal investigators will take the case, especially if the same people have many victims and have made millions of dollars off them. Even in those cases, settlement could be years off and restitution would be hit and miss because the money might be gone.