SWEEPSTAKES SCAM sweeps through Marathon County

The Marathon County Sheriff’s department fielded more than a dozen phone calls in a single day this week reporting a telephone scam looking to bilk people out of thousands of dollars.

The caller identifies themselves as a representative of the Publisher’s Clearing House organization to announce a winning prize, department officials say. The catch: Victims are asked to pay hundreds of dollars in taxes or fees to collect their winnings. But Publisher’s Clearing House reps say their sweepstakes are always free to enter and there is never an up-front fee associated with winning.

Local residents who have already sent money to claim a false prize can file a police report with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office by calling 715-261-1200. People who have received calls but did not send money should report the call to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.