This past week, I received a couple of very unusual voice mails. One was from the Tele-Ministry System and the other was from Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.
Tele-Ministry System message
I have no idea how they got my phone number, but they left a message asking me to call them back. I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I decided to do some research online. It turns out that the Tele-Ministry System is a religious organization that uses automated messages to spread their faith. After reading more about them, I decided that I didn't want anything to do with them and deleted the voice mail.
Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes message
Publishers Clearing House (PCH) is a legitimate company that runs sweepstakes and lotteries. However, there are many scams out there that use the PCH name in order to try and trick people into sending them money.
One common scam is when someone calls you claiming to be from PCH and saying that you've won a large prize. They may even tell you to call back on a specific number in order to "claim" your winnings. However, this is not how PCH operates - they will never contact winners directly by phone in order to award them a prize.
If you receive any calls like the one I got, it's important not to give out any personal information or money, and instead report the scammer call back number to authorities.
Tele-Ministry System Transcript
Full Transcript from Hooper Communications:
Hello this is Tim Hooper from Mobile Alabama for the tele ministry system
do you want to grow your ministry
our church system is the only system that can call 1,500 people a day
40,000 people a month in your own voice to invite to your church
or to tell about the needs of your ministry
our sister knows every cell phone number and landline number in the general public
Pastor, make a message in your own voice and enter in any area code or zip code in our system makes everything all number in 3 seconds
the person calls can leave a message
go to your website to make a donation
you could average 50 plus responses a day from people needing prayer
people interested in joining your ministry
people offering to make donations to the ministry
one telephone call from you to the community could pay for the system in full from their donations
also our system can be used to contact any group of your church and your voice.
Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Scam
Full Transcript of the scam:
Hello this is a secure phone call from the sweepstakes headquarters at 4800 Signature Dr., Raleigh, NC
You are a selected winner with Publishers' Clearinghouse Sweepstakes
and association with Windstar international
your claim code is 100234
I repeat 100234
This represents the grand prize package of 2.5 million
and the most awesome bonus prize ever
A brand new 2022 BMW congratulations
Please call our claim department at 623-264-1613
We will be expecting your call for clearance
There will be agents available to assist with your delivery schedule thanks for your patience...
I get a lot of strange calls. Most of the time I have my phone on Do Not Disturb. Every once in a while I'll get a voice message from a potential scammer.
Here's a voice mail that I got. They put some weird background music that made me want to put a slide show of flowers.
Transcript was provided by Apple and it seemed pretty accurate.
This is the Covid mortgage health center we are reaching out to you as a follow up on a state disbursement notice that was recently forwarded to your home
this is for a 2% interest rate program based on a mandated program for the federal cares act and offers you savings around $400 per month on your mortgage and one of the case counselors would like to explain the program to you on how to obtain the savings you were eligible for the program is time sensitive and we need to speak to you within the next 24 hours you may contact us back today on this number.
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