Prize Patrol? They are legit, but they don't call you first

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A Salisbury woman was scammed out of more than $2500 because she believed she had actually won $10 million in the Publishers Clearing House contest.

According to a Salisbury police report, the woman was contacted by phone by a man who claimed to be with the "Prize Patrol."  He told her that she hade won $10 million and a new car, but that she had to put up $2525 before the prizes could be delivered.

The woman complied with the request, but then discovered she had been duped and reported the crime to police.

"If you've won something, somebody's not going to ask you for money before you get your prize," said Captain Sheila Lingle of the Salisbury Police Department.   "Common sense sometimes goes out the window because they want the money."

Last year WBTV accompanied the genuine Prize Patrol on a surprise visit to the home of a woman in Statesville.  At that time, PCH representatives told WBTV that the organization never calls winners by phone or email, and never asks winners for money.

"Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who pretend to be the Prize Patrol in order to fool people," Danielle Lam of Publishers Clearing House posted in a statement.

"You never need to pay to claim a PCH prize.  Winning and enjoying is completely free at Publishers Clearing House," Lam added.  "Big prizes are awarded in person by the Prize Patrol and it's a complete surprise."