’Tis the for holiday shopping and scams.
Bill Bryan, a Silverdale resident, figured out a scam before he was taken.
Bryan received a call from a man identifying himself as Rick Bush, the senior vice president of Publishers Clearing House.
He told Bryan he won $50,000 and a new car. The man on the phone stated he and a team of five would be at his house in the yellow van with the Publishers Clearing House logo on the side.
The man provided Bryan with detailed information about the winnings, giving a prize identification number, claiming number and his business cell phone number.
All the information he provided Bryan sounded very authentic and convincing, but it was all fake. Publishers Clearing House does have a senior vice president, but he spells his name Rick Busch. The name given to Bryan was Rick Bush.
The details of the scam were Bryan was to buy a gold stamp card and have it at his house when Rick Bush arrived at noon. Bryan was instructed to buy the card at Walgreens. The cost of the card was $500.
He was told if he had the card he would be given the prize money and car.
Bryan was savvy enough to contact the Central Kitsap Reporter and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
“They (sheriff’s office) told me to tell them I had contacted the police,” Bryan said.
Bryan did not buy the card and called the man back as instructed by the sheriff’s office. The man maintained he was legitimate and was happy Bryan was checking, but he insisted Bryan must buy the card to get the money and car.
Reporter Wes Morrow went to Bryan’s house at noon in case the man showed. He did not.
The Publishers Clearing House fraud line was contacted by the newspaper and the following statement was received, “Publishers Clearing House never requests that anyone send money to claim a prize and we never notify major prize winners by phone or mail.”
Representatives on the phone took the information provided by the newspaper and sent it to the Federal Trade Commission.
“Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a fraudulent contact using the name of Publishers Clearing House, may contact us at our toll-free number 1-800-392-4190. Anyone who believes they have received a suspicious email using our name and logo, may forward it to our fraud reporting mailbox, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also you can visit the ‘Sweepstakes Information Center’ on pch.com to view our prevention tips and warning signs and helpful Fraud Prevention Tips information.”
The Federal Trade Commission also has a website for phone scams.
The best advice may be if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.