We've all seen on television commercials the joyous celebration of winners of the Publisher's Clearing House.
The Prize Patrol rolls up with balloons. Smiling, peppy people ring the doorbell. And someone stands with an oversize cardboard check as the homeowner gushes in disbelief.
We've all probably thought of what we would do with some of that money if maybe, just maybe, we were lucky enough to be that person gushing in disbelief.
That probably was the case for a Lower Macungie woman eight months ago. According to state police at Fogelsville, an 85-year-old resident of Sweetwood Drive was notified by mail that she was a Publisher's Clearing House winner.
However, before she could claim her reward, the "winner" would have to pay a processing fee, police say she was told. She subsequently sent several checks over the eight months for various processing fees. In all, she paid $356.61.
The ruse began in February and was reported on Sept. 12, police said. They have classified it as theft by deception.
Police warn of scams all the time. Generally, the lure is that for a supposed small amount of money, a person will receive a large prize, such as in the case of the Publisher's Clearing House scam. Another popular ruse is to contact a person and tell them that a grandchild visiting in a foreign country has been arrested and needs bail money immediately. That scam was successfully used Sept. 20 on a Lower Macungie man, costing him $4,000. An offshoot reports that a grandchild has been involved in a serious accident or has taken ill abroad and needs money immediately for medical care.
Police warn of these scams and recommend that those who think such a scenario may be false contact them at 610-395-1438.