A Farmington woman was smart enough to know the “good news” she was receiving on the phone one Wednesday morning was a scam – and is sharing her story to make sure others don’t fall victim.

The resident, who asked her name not be used, was told it was “Happy Williams, senior vice-president of Publisher's Clearing House” on the phone, saying she “won” $1 million and a 2015 Mercedes Benz – “blue and white in color.”

But that was not all. “Mr. Williams” told her the “awarding team” would arrive at her home at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and to expect a call for “Deborah Holland” shortly.

The Farmington resident said the scammers are using the name of Deborah Holland – which happens to be the real name of a person associated with PCH.

In the meantime, “Mr. Williams” asked the resident for her birth date, at which point she told him she would not give any personal information. He did, however, already have her name and address.

About an hour-and-a-half later, the resident received a call from “Ms. Holland,” repeating the “good news” that there would be three women and two men arriving at her Farmington residence on Thursday with a certified check for $800,000, the remaining balance in cash, plus the “new vehicle.”

“She said 99 percent of the taxes were paid but I would be responsible for one percent for state-to-state shipping and handling, which would be $3,586,” the resident said, adding the caller asked if there was a UPS or Federal Express shipping facility nearby.

But, the call recipient had a bit of news for “Ms. Holland.”

The resident contacted Publisher’s Clearing House and provided them with the information she received.

“The operator (at PCH) told me she would file a report with law enforcement authorities and the FCC,” said the woman.

“Ms. Holland” quickly disconnected when the resident told of her conversation with PCH and how winners are not notified by telephone or asked for money to help pay for shipping and handling.

The Farmington resident did the right thing in not providing any personal information and immediately contacting PCH and local authorities on the scam.

Publisher’s Clearing House also offers important information on scams at info.pch.com/consumer-information/fraud-protection.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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