New London

Griswold woman warns of sweepstakes scam

GRISWOLD, Conn. (WTNH) - Like many, Evelyn Papale was very familiar with the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

She was recently happily surprised to hear she may be one of the big winners, but instead, she became the victim of a scam. That's why she's telling her story.

The 81-year old lung cancer survivor received a mailer which told her she could be one of 50 winners. 

About a month later, she received a call from a man calling himself John Grant.

"He said he was from... An agent from Publishers Clearing House and that I had been awarded $4.5 million dollars," said Papale.

He also told her she won a car, but there was a catch.

"I had to come up with $1,500 to pay for all the paperwork and the government seal and the taxes," said Papale.

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She had her caregiver Shirley send the money through Western Union.

"The next thing I know, he's calling day and night, day and night," said Papale.

He wanted another $3,000.

"I didn't send it," she said. "I didn't have it. Thank God I didn't have it."

Papale soon realized she'd never see her money again.

"Shirley, I think I've been scammed," she said she told her caregiver. "I think I've been scammed out of 15... that's money for the month. $1,500, that's what I live on."

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Papale had to borrow money just to pay her cable bill and she doesn't want this to happen to anyone else.

"If he's not getting it from me, he's going to try to get it somewhere else and I said 'I got to stop him,'" said Papale. "So here I am."

The Federal Trade Commission says the FTC and Publishers Clearing House have gotten many reports of similar scams.

They want people to know Publishers Clearing House will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a prize and it doesn't call ahead to say you’ve won.

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