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Vienna woman has close brush with phone scam

By Gretchen Richards

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

VIENNA, W.Va. – Residents are warned of a scam from callers claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House that has been reported in the area, said officials.

The scam comes from a caller claiming to be the executive of the popular magazine subscription service, said officials. The scammer informs the would-be victim that they have won the $800 million jackpot prize, along with $7,000 a week for the rest of their lives.

The call is identified as “private name, private number” on caller identification, said officials.

And all the winner has to do in order to claim their prize money is to mail a cashier’s check for $499 to a Texas address in a certified overnight envelope, said officials.

When this happened to longtime Vienna resident Burnice Lemley, she almost fell for it.

The caller instructed Lemley that, in order to claim her prize, she had to send the cashier’s check within 24 hours, and that she was not permitted to tell anyone, even her own family, about the details of the situation, said Lemley. Doing so would disqualify her from collecting her winnings.

“The man kept telling me ‘This is for real, you’ve got to believe it and you’ve got to act fast,'” said Lemley.

Lemley obtained the cashier’s check, and the $19 certified overnight envelope, and gave the check to the post office, before she realized that something wasn’t right. Lemley was able to get her letter back before it left the post office, and canceled the cashier’s check through her bank, she said.

But most important, Lemley called the police, said authorities.

“It is important that people who receive these scam phone calls do two things: first, hang up. Then, call the police and the attorney general,” said Vienna Police Chief George M. Young…

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