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Forum staff reports, Published April 20 2013

Publisher’s Clearing House scam circulating

FARGO – Police here are warning area residents to be aware of a telephone scam in which callers say they represent “Publisher’s Clearing House” in an attempt to convince people they have won $800,000.

Callers then say “winners” must provide a pre-paid credit card in the amount of $100 to $150 in order have the prize delivered. Variations of the scam include an additional prize of a new car or other enticements.

Most scam operations are based outside the U.S. and use phone numbers that are difficult to trace, police said in a press release. Once scam operators have the credit card information or victims have sent a money order or other financial device, the money is seldom recovered.

The Fargo Police Department said legitimate lotteries and sweepstakes do not require winners to provide payment in order to receive their winnings. The public should also avoid providing personal information over the phone or Internet such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, passwords, financial account numbers or personal identification numbers.