A Miami Valley man wants to warn others about what he says is a sweepstakes scam letter.
“If you are out there and you are doing this and you are trying to scam people out of money, shame on you,” said Tom Eastridge, a Dayton resident.
The scam letter was sent to his father’s mailbox and appears to be from Publishers Clearing House. It stated that the “winner” has won the grand prize of one million dollars.
“It is one of the most convincing scams that I have ever seen,” said Eastridge.
However, there was a catch.
“The real big red flag was you are going to have to buy insurance to be sure that you pay your taxes on this one million dollars,” he stated.
“I said, ‘This is a scam. I hope you have not called the numbers on this letter.’”
Thankfully, Eastridge’s father did not call the number.
But News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray called to try and get some answers.
However, no one answered or returned her calls.
The Better Business Bureau said that half a million people have reported these types of scams over the last three years.
“This is our number one reported scam all across North America,” said John North, president and CEO of the BBB in Dayton.
This scam letter used an old Publishers Clearing House logo and address to make it look legitimate.
“If they are asking for money upfront, if it’s a sweepstakes you’ve never entered, all of those are red flags that this is probably a scam,” North said.
Eastridge said that elderly parents need to be encouraged to seek help.
“If they get anything in the mail at all, ask them to have someone else in the family take a look at it before they act on it,” he said. “It’s extremely important.”
Investigations into these schemes do lead to action.
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission filed a case against a sweepstakes scam operation that allegedly has stolen more than a hundred million dollars from victims since 2013.