A resident in the South Lake Minnetonka area received a letter from scammers pretending to be the Publishers Clearing House (PCH). The letter congratulated this resident and provided a sponsorship check to assist with out of pocket expenses for claiming the prize. The letter and check were found to be from imposters and not the real PCH.

According to PCH: If you are ever contacted by someone claiming to represent PCH, or claiming to be one of their employees, and asked to send or wire money (for any reason whatsoever, including taxes); or send a pre-paid gift card or Green Dot Moneypak card in order to claim a sweepstakes prize – DON’T! It’s a SCAM. If you are sent a check, told it’s a partial prize award, and asked to cash it and send a portion back to claim the full prize award, DON’T. The check is fake, but the SCAM is real!

What’s the catch? Even though the check is bogus, if you deposit the check, the money may be available to you for a short time. Under federal law, banks make the funds you deposit available quickly – usually within one to five days, depending on the type of check. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce. And that’s what the scam artists are counting on. They hope that if you believe the check is real you’ll be willing to send them money back.