Scammers pose as Publishers Clearing House, steal more than $140K from Troy family

Troy Police said an elaborate scam has cost a family more than $140,000 after the victim was convinced they won millions in the Publishers Clearing House.

According to police, the scam started on March 23 in Troy when a victim was contacted by someone who said his name was "Otis Peterbank" and he was with Publishers Clearing House. The victims were told they won $5,000 per month for life or a lump sump of $2.6M but they had to pay taxes on it first.

"Peterbank" told the victims they would have to pay $129,810 in state and local taxes before the money would be released to them. They were also told not to use their computer anymore and not to tell anyone that they were suddenly rich.


"Peterbank" told him it would lead to cyber-attacks or a loss of their money.

From March 24 until April 16, the victims sent lottery claim forms and various amounts of money to different addresses in Texas, Oklahoma, and New York.

The last shipment of money was held up by the USPS as it was suspicious - but not until the victims lost a total of $143,955.62.

On Publishers Clearing House's website, the company says winning is always free and you never have to pay to claim a prize. If someone is contacting claiming to be from PCH but asks for money first, you should stop immediately.