Publishers Clearing house scam leaves woman out $1,800 - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

BBB: Publishers Clearing House scam takes $1,800 from local woman

The Cleveland BBB is warning consumers of a Publishers Clearing House scam. (WOIO) The Cleveland BBB is warning consumers of a Publishers Clearing House scam. (WOIO)

Denise Ruffin has been entering in sweepstakes for several years, winning prizes like a set of pots and pans. 

"Well I'm going to win something big sooner or later," said Ruffin. 

The 57-year-old Cleveland native thought she hit the jackpot when she got a letter from what she thought was the Publishers Clearing House

The letter said she won more than $2 million. 

"They had me call all these numbers to verify this, so I'm thinking man I'm going crazy. I really won. I really won," Ruffin said. 

Ruffin was told she had to wire $1,800 in order to cover the taxes. 

"I borrowed $650 from one sister. I borrowed $550 from the other and I took my whole $684 check and sent them people my money...and I was devastated," she said. 

Devastated because the real people from Publishers Clearing House never came. 

"I cried like a baby," Ruffin told 19 Action News. 

The Cleveland Better Business Bureau recently received a call from another victim out $1,800 as well, and at least a dozen calls from would-be victims in our area. 

These scammers are also using victims as money mules. 

"You're going to get wire transfers and we want you to take that cash and send it to us, and they're doing this not knowing that they're part of a scam," said Sue McConnell with the Cleveland BBB. 

As for Ruffin, her phone keeps ringing. 

"Those are the kind of hopes you can get out of debt and clear yourself. But instead what happens to you? You get scammed," she said. 

The BBB said if you're eligible for a prize you should never have to pay up front. If you're feeling unsure, check in with the BBB on their website

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