Target 11 has warning about prize, lottery schemes



PITTSBURGH - Target 11 is warning people about prize and lottery schemes.

"I want people to know out there, don't be a fool like me," said Leechburg resident John Bail.

An avalanche of mailings was all sent to John's home.

"I have hundreds and hundreds of these," said Bail.

And every last one is a bogus contest.

In 2013, prize and lottery schemes made the FTC's Top 10 List for Consumer Complaints.

Bail’s problems all started with a Publisher's Clearing House scheme.

"It comes like Publisher's Clearing House does," said Bail.  "You can win pots and pans."

They wanted $20 in prize fees, so Bail sent it in.  One after another mailing came.  Five payments and $100 later, Bail knew it was all fake.

"I took a gamble and I lost," said Bail.

"To win a prize, you should never have to pay any type of fee," said U.S. Postal Inspector, Tammy Mayle.

Mayle told Channel 11 that Bail’s story is becoming all too familiar.

"I don’t know if it's been targeting our area more or more people have been falling victim or just more people have been reporting it," said Mayle.

For Bail, the scheme opened a floodgate of bogus mailings for cars, million-dollar checks and free cruises.

Channel 11’s Katherine Amenta called about one of the free trip offers.

“They make it sound so legit until the $59 government fee,” she said.

After Amenta said she was from Channel 11 and asked why there were multiple complaints against them, the person on the other line hung up.

"(Watch out for) a strange label, a foreign label. That's a warning," said Mayle.  "They try to make it look very urgent, very important."