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Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23555
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I have been contacted by phone and told I have won $18.5

Customer Question

I have been contacted by phone and told I have won $18.5 milllion and have sent several thousands to them and when time to deliver they say they need more money what do I need to do all I have is their phone number They say this company is American Cash Awards and Publishers Clearing House and I have paid income tax money to the plus registration fees
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 13 days ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Please be patient while I compose a reply for you.

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 13 days ago.

I'm sorry to tell you that you have fallen for a very well known computer scam. You've won nothing. You've simply and unfortunately been swindled.

Scammers always want you to believe that you can be picked out of thin air and become a contest winner. You can't. You must always enter a contest to win it.

Lottery winners are paid out of the proceeds of lottery tickets. If you don't buy your ticket you can't win, and you must present a valid ticket to claim your winnings. US lottery tickets cannot be sold on line. It's against Federal law. You must buy them in person from agents at specially designated locations.

Sweepstakes winners must complete an entry form and sign up for the contest. Sweepstakes also require you to submit your half of the entry form as proof before you can claim your prize. Your half of the form matches the information the company has on the other half.

Finally, when you win a real contest, the money already belongs to you. So you NEVER have to pay anything up front to receive something that's already yours.

In any legitimate contest, if there were indeed any transfer expenses, the contest would simply deduct it from your money which they already have and just give you a check for the rest. But with a scam contest, if you notify them, they will ask for money up front for taxes, insurance, courier or transfer fees, or they will give you a partial check and ask you to deposit it and use the money to pay a third party. There's no need for any of that with a real contest.

The up front fee is the #1 sign of a contest scam.

There are scam warning all over the web about American Cash Awards. You can see them here. It's not a legitimate business.

Publisher's Clearing House, on the other hand, is legitimate. However, they will be the first to tell you that if you're told that you have to send money to get your winnings, you haven't won one of their contests. You can see this warning right on their website here.

PCH doesn't inform winners by phone or by mail. They send out their Prize Patrol which comes to your home and surprises you and hands you your check in person. And they never, ever ask for money.

So, there is no contest. There are no wiinnings. Nobody is going to take you to jail. You have been the victim of a scam and the only possible way to get your money back is if the authorities can find your scammers and bring them to justice. So stop paying them. Block further contact, and Report the fraud to your police, online to the FBI at their Internet Crime Complaint Center at

I can give you one small piece of good news. When you are the victim of a crime, your unreimbursed losses due to that crime are tax deductible. So you can deduct your losses and get something back in the form of a deduction, when you file your 2016 taxes.

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 12 days ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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