Duluth Woman Loses $1,000 From Prize Scam Phone Call

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: November 05, 2018 07:55 PM

Scammers are always finding new ways to get money from people. A Duluth woman lost $1,000 after getting a call from a scammer last Wednesday claiming she'd won a big prize.

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An unfortunate incident that affects many people, Roberta Berstock from Gary-New Duluth, wanted to share her story so that it doesn't happen to others.

Berstock got a call on Halloween from a person who posed as an employee from Publishers Clearing House, a sweepstakes company.

The scammer told her she'd won $3.5 million and a new motor home.

The scammer said she had to sign an acceptance and lottery form, followed by sending a cashier's check to pay for an alleged $999 shipping and handling fee to claim her prize.

Berstock had her doubts, but the scammer convinced her with confirmation numbers, giving her names of employees from the company, and even confirming a time and date the prize patrol would be at her home to give her the prize.

Berstock realized it was a scam when she called Publishing Clearing House to confirm the information.

"If you won it, you won it, you don't have to pay a dime. I fell for the scam and I apologize for that. I lost $1000 and I don't want anyone else to lose any more money,” Berstock said.

Berstock reported the incident to her bank and the police. Unfortunately, she can’t get her money back but said she learned from the experience.

A spokesperson from Publishers Clearing House said "The scams are completely false and are in no way associated with the real Publishers Clearing House. Publishers Clearing House is aware of scammers using our name. We work closely with law enforcement to help identify criminals and bring them to justice. If the prize is not free, it is not legitimate and certainly not from the real Publishers Clearing House.”

The spokesperson also advised to always keep in mind that if you are contacted by someone who claims you have won a prize and are asked to send any money, fee, tax or payment, stop and don’t fall for it.

Publishers Clearing House has information on fraud protection and tips and warning signs about scams on their website:


Alejandra Palacios

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