LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Scams about Publishers Clearing House winnings are targeting residents in Acadiana.

Victims are reporting calls from someone claiming to be with company saying they have won a new car or money, but they first need to pay taxes.

The con then reportedly instructs the victim to purchase gift cards to make a payment.

A New Iberia woman says she nearly fell for the scam.

Martha Frederick said she got a call from someone claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House telling her she won money every week for the rest of her life and a brand new Mercedes, and she says it sounded legit.

“I really thought it was all true. Now I’m so broken hearted.”

She says the worker identified himself as Aiden White.

He told Frederick she’d won nearly $3M, a Mercedes, and $5K a week for the rest of her life.

“I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker. I was so excited.”

Frederick says it sounded legit because she didn’t have to give Aiden any information saying he already had her account number and that all she had to do was send a $500 gift card to a man named Frank Cassidy, an alleged loan officer at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

“Me, I was all gung-ho. I wanted to get the money, but I said, Nope, people have said don’t pay money to get money so I turned around, and I came back,” Frederick said.

She then reported the incident to police who told her to close her account and block the numbers.

News Ten tried reaching out to Aiden, though he did not answer.

While these scammers didn’t answer our calls, law enforcement agencies say scammers still make their own calls to people they hope to trick.

Frederick says she was hoping to buy a new house with her new money and now she just wants others to be aware of this scam.

“Just be careful who you talk to. Check them out before you go and make any kinds of decisions because I didn’t until it was almost too late.”

Publisher’s Clearing House says the only way you’ll know that you won is they will come to your house and give you the check. They say they don’t make calls to let people know they’ve won.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff says to avoid becoming the victim of a scam, resist the pressure to make an immediate decision.

Scammers create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly. He also says never send money based on a request made on the phone or in an e-mail.

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