Phone scammers hitting Charlotte County, authorities warn

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office warns citizens of a recent telephone scam that Charlotte...
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office warns citizens of a recent telephone scam that Charlotte County residents have unfortunately fallen victim to.(WTVG)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 1:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (WWSB) - Phone scammers pretending to be from Publishers Clearing House have been targeting residents in Charlotte County, the sheriff’s office says.

This scam features a phone call from a person claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House that tells an unsuspecting victim they have won millions of dollars. However, in order to receive the prize, they must first purchase gift cards and iPhones to then ship to a particular address.

At least one victim in Charlotte County lost a significant amount of money to this scam, investigators say.

Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell warns residents that a legitimate business will never request payment in the form of a gift card. You should also never give out your personal or banking information. “If an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Officials from the real Publishers Clearing House told the sheriff’s office the company would never ask for payment by a gift card in order to claim a prize.

A few tips to protect yourself and your family:

  • Never answer calls from unknown numbers
  • Never divulge personal information
  • Be suspicious of callers claiming you’ve won – but ask you to send money
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, think twice — it usually is
  • Call the company back to verify the number and identity of employee

If you believe you are the victim of a similar scam, please contact the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at 941-639-2101. You may also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.

Copyright 2022 WWSB. All rights reserved.