The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is hoping to alert residents of a new scam before it's too late.

Scammers have found a new way to con thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims. According to Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, scammers have unveiled an all new "too good to be true" ploy that is designed to make their victim too excited to think properly.


Scammers have been targeting residents and claiming they are from the Publisher's Clearing House.

"In this scam, the victim receives a phone call, text, email, or postal mail telling them that they have won an exorbitant amount of money in the Publisher’s Clearing House lottery," the sheriff explained in a public post..

The scammer tells the victim that they have won millions of dollars, but that they have to send money to pay “taxes” or “processing fees.” They typically ask for thousands of dollars to be sent by wire, cashier’s check, gift cards, Venmo, or PayPal. They tell the victim not to tell friends or relatives because it is intended to be a “surprise.”

Oneida County authorities are urging residents to not fall for this new trick and to take a moment to check off a few things before responding to the so-called incredible news.

The first thing Sheriff Maciol urges residents is to ask themselves if they entered that Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, because that is the only way a winner can be drawn. If the answer is no, then you are being tricked by a scammer and need to cease communication immediately.

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Second of all, always be suspicious of sweepstakes that demand you need to pay money in order to collect your prize. "You always have time to verify, do not let them take that away from you. If they insist that you need to pay now, it is a scam, end the conversation," said police.

Also, they urge people to always check with trusted sources, like a spouse or sibling, before engaging further.

As always, police say, "It is okay to hang up." You are not hurting anyone's feelings.

If you have been contacted by people claiming to be representatives of Publisher's Clearing House and worry you are being targeted, call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at 315-736-0141.

This scam comes amid a flux of traps that have been floating around Central New York. A "smishing" text message scam became so widespread, the United States Postal Service had to get involved.

Read More: New Text Scam in NY Attacks Your Bank Account

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Additionally, scammers have been going door-to-door in some area communities claiming to be selling solar on behalf of National Grid.  The energy utility warned they never engage in door-to-door sales and to report such people to the police.

Read More: Dangerous Solar Scam Targeting Central NY Homeowners

Scammers are also preying upon recent college grads with phony job offers. These scams are designed to not only steal their hard-earned money, but also their identity by asking questions that go beyond what Human Resources normally inquires.

In the end, New York is one of the top 10 states most affected by cyber crime, so keep your wits about you and when something that sounds too good to be true knocks on your door, it's best to go in with a highly skeptical mindset - and have police on speed dial.

Stay safe!

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