ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Local authorities are warning the public of another scam that has been reported in the area.

According to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office (SMPSO), the scam is the PCH Imposters Scam.

SMPSO said that the scam starts with a call or letter stating that you have won the Public Clearing House sweepstakes, but to collect your prize, you have to send money to pay for fees.

You will typically be asked to send money by Western Union, MoneyGram, or by getting a reloadable card, SMPSO said.

Scammers may also send a realistic-looking fake check in the mail and tell you that to claim the prize, you need to deposit the check and send money back for made-up expenses. SPMSO said that when the check you deposit bounces, you will then be responsible for the money you sent.

SMPSO also said that they will advise the victim that the security code and prize information must be kept confidential and to not tell law enforcement.

The scam is perpetuated by imposters and not the real Public Clearing House, SMPSO said.

SMPSO gave the following tips to spot the scam:

  • Publishers Clearing House never emails or calls its big winners or sent out winning notices in bulk mail.
  • You do not have to give out confidential information when you enter legitimate sweepstakes.
  • You never have to pay to receive a legitimate Publisher Clearing House prize.
  • Sweepstakes scams send you a large check with your win notice.
  • You can always verify your wins with Publishers Clearing House, so if you believe you have really won something – verify it before giving out any information or sending anyone any money.
  • Sweepstakes scams may ask for bank or credit card info to receive your prize.
  • Sweepstakes scams pressure you to act in a hurry.
  • If they say that you are a winner in some sort of “lottery” it is usually a scam.
  • Sweepstake scams may pretend to come from a government organization.

If you still think that the call or email is real, click here to visit Publisher’s Clearing House Fraud Protection page on their website.