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TROUBLESHOOTERS: Publishers Clearing House Scam

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(HOI) -- Have you recently received a call from Publishers Clearing House?

A Heart of Illinois man is warning people not to fall for it.

He says he did.

"Do you feel like your a target for these? Can be I guess but I don't know how they get my phone number in the first place. Somehow they just find me," said Larry Billingsley, who asked that his face not be shown on camera.

He's shocked that he appeared on the radar of a scammer, who he says claimed to be from Publisher's Clearing House.

Billingsley says, "Well, this guy named John Carter called me about a month ago, give me a big old spiel about winning $25 million dollars, a house, a car. Well I said that's too good to be true."

Financial Adviser Daryl Dagit, of Savant Capital Management, says these types of crooks are looking for any opportunity to catch people with their guard down.

"First of all, if someone sends you a check and you don't know who they are, it's too good to be true. Don't cash it. What they're looking for is your bank account number. Once that's cashed, your bank account goes on the check and now they have a lot of your information," said Dagit.

If you have to pay to get the prize, it's not a prize, according to

Yet, Billingsley found himself perplexed after going to his mailbox.

"He mailed me a $3,500 check and I made a mistake and put it in the bank."

The status on that cash is pending in his personal bank account.

"According to him it was, but according to the bank it takes 10 days to clear anyway. He is wanting me to go to the bank and get a $2,500 cash advance on the check. In my own mind I'm like I'm not going," Billingsley said.

The bank ultimately denied that advance request, instructions would soon follow on what to do next from an out of town cellphone number.

"I was supposed to get a cash withdrawal, go buy green pack cards with it. I bought one $200 green pack card with his money, he's been mad at me ever since," said Billingsley.

Billingsley's bank eventually determined the check to be fake after he withdrew $200 of the original $3,500 from his bank account.

"It doesn't really bother me. If i have to pay back the check, I'll pay back the check. That's between me and the bank. When the manager of the bank called me I said I don't want to go to jail over this, I'll work it out somehow with you."

Donnie Tillman

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