Contact 6: Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes scam

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6's Contact 6 has discovered a scam involving paying a small processing fee after receiving a letter announcing you are the million dollar winner in a major sweepstakes.

Gertrude Hsia was thrilled when she received a letter saying she had won $1 million from the Publisher's Clearing House. Inside was a check for more than $12,000.

"I had to supposedly deposit that check and then ask for $8,000 in the money orders to pay fees and a small tax," Hsia said.

Hsia followed the instructions and bought eight $1,000 money orders. She was told once she paid the so-called fees, she would get her $1 million prize.

At the post office, Hsia's purchase of multiple money orders was a red flag, and a clerk notified postal inspectors.

"I contacted the victim to find out exactly why she was sending $8,000 in money orders to an individual she did not know.  If you are a winner in a legitimate sweepstakes - you will never be asked to pay fees to get your winnings," U.S. Postal Inspector Cheryl Swyers said.

Sadly, it was too late. Hsia had already sent the money orders and the check she deposited bounced. The retired 73-year-old on a fixed income was devastated.

"It`s really sad when you don`t know where that money has gone," Hsia said.

Due to a bigger investigation into lottery scams, postal inspectors caught and federally prosecuted the recipient of Hsia's money orders.