By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller
Arlene’s phone rang at her Parker residence for a third time, and the same voice was on the phone.
“The first time he identified himself as being with the FBI,” she says. She described the details of the heavy accented voice on the other end of the line. “My husband answered the first time, and he could barely understand what the man was saying.”
So, on the second call, she says the man identified himself as John Franklin, with Publisher’s Clearing House.
“It was interesting to us, because we’d just seen an interview on TV with a couple who was supposed to send money through Walmart,” she says. “I kinda knew where he was headed.”
After about 10 minutes of conversation about winning and being presented the check, Franklin asked if Arlene wanted to pay the taxes on her winnings up front, and if so, she would need to go to Walmart and get a “Green Dot” card for $200, and call him back.
“We got off the phone and talked about the call,” Arlene says. “So, when he called back to get the numbers off the card, we were ready.”
By the third call, Arlene gave him several numbers and false information and finally couldn’t hold back much longer.
“When my husband told him it was a scam, he became very rude,” she says.
John Franklin began his rude tirade with insults on how they could not believe it was a real PCH winning check.
Arlene took the phone from her husband, and again said this was a scam.
“He got pretty huffy, when I took over,” she says. “Then he asked ‘What was wrong with my husband and what sort of rehab is going to?'”
At that point she hanged up the phone, called the police department and the Better Business Bureau.
- Prize winners will not call by phone or by regular mail. Consumers who win over $10,000 will be awarded in person by the PCH Prize Patrol, with no advance notification. Those who win less than $10,000 will receive an affidavit via certified mail. Additionally, PCH does send out post cards and mailings promoting their services and surveys.
- At the real Publishers Clearing House, the winning is always free. Do not send or wire any money to collect the prize. Don’t trust anyone requesting payment for “taxes,” “custom fees,” “border security” or other purported reasons.
- If suspicious of a fraudulent call, letter, e-mail or check from someone claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House, contact the real PCH at 1-800-645-9242 then press 5.
BBB investigated John Franklin, and tracked him to Washington D.C. where he said he was with PCH, and gave a physical address on Sweet Lane. There is no such address.