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Alexandria Woman Reports Publishers Clearing House Scam

Alexandria Police are investigating a scam against a city resident, in which she reported losing $11,800 to someone claiming to be a representative of the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

The victim reported to police on April 9 that she received a call telling her that she was the winner of Publisher’s Clearing House’s grand prize, but that in order to get the funds she would have to pay taxes beforehand, according to the police search warrant affidavit.

The victim spoke with more than one individual from different phone numbers instructing her to deposit $3,500 in a TD bank account, followed by a check for $8,500 to an address in the Bronx, New York. She was told that the money would then be deposited into her account, according to the affidavit.

The victim reportedly provided the scammers with her full name, bank account information and pin number and the last four digits of her Social Security number. She later realized there was a problem when her account password and email address were changed, according to police.

The city is warning residents against scams, as the coronavirus pandemic creates an opportunity for some to take advantage of the crisis.

Earlier this week, the Del Ray Business Association warned against a phishing scam that reportedly took advantage of one resident.

According to the city, common examples of scams include:

  • Fake “test kits” or cures
  • Illegitimate health organizations
  • Malicious websites or applications that claim to share COVID-19 information but steal personal information or install malware; and fraudulent charities.
  • Emails with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment or hyperlink.
  • Fake phone calls, emails, or texts trying to get to revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes

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