A New Douglas man is out $5,000 after he believed he had won money in a sweepstakes and sent a payment to cover what he thought was insurance for the prize. The Madison County Sheriff's Department is reminding residents to be very leery of anyone promising you a big payout in exchange for your own money, or information about your bank account or social security number.

In a case that police were notified of this week, the victim, who police would only describe as a male senior citizen from New Douglas, received a letter stating he had won $650,000 from Publisher's Clearing House. He contacted a phone number listed on the letter and the person on the other end instructed him to send a $5,000 check to cover the insurance cost for the prize. The man did so, but never got his cash prize. He then contacted police who continue to investigate the incident. Authorities say in many of the scams, the suspects are based outside the country and will be difficult to trace. Police remind all residents that any legitimate sweepstakes company will not require any cash payment in order to receive a prize. And, you should never provide any bank or savings account information or social security number to anyone unless you initiate the call and you are familiar with the business.


(Copyright WBGZ Radio/ www.AltonDailyNews.com)