WOODBRIDGE — A 78-year-old man lost $2,250 in a phone scam after he was told by a caller he won a prize from the Publishers Clearing House.

Woodbridge Police told MyCentralJersey.com the man sent a check in that amount to a Florida address after getting a call that he had won a $2.5 million prize. He was even emailed an image of a check drawn on a Bank of America account.


When he was asked for another $8,000, his wife became suspicious and contacted police, according to the report.

Publishers Clearing House, on its website, wrote, "You never have to pay to claim a PCH prize, and if someone asks you to do so, they are not from the real Publishers Clearing House."

The company said all of its prizes are delivered in person and no phone call is made ahead of time.

"For decades, our Prize Patrol has captured the elated reactions of surprised winners and used them in our nationally-televised commercials. You’ll know you’re a big PCH winner if you see the Prize Patrol at your front door holding a 'Big Check' with your name on it," the company said on its website.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' Fighting Fraud site mentions that a popular scam is for "winners" to be told they need to send money in order to claim a prize.

"Most sweepstakes are run by reputable marketers and nonprofit organizations to promote their products and services. Some lucky winners even receive money or valuable prizes. However, capitalizing on the popularity of legitimate offers are con artists who frequently disguise their schemes to look legitimate — so it's winner beware," the site said.

Anyone who believes they have been scammed can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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