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Daily News employee is scam target

September 17, 2010
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer

A would-be scam artist got a little close to home this week when he tried to bilk a Daily News employee.

Cathy McCarthy, Estherville Daily News sales associate, received a call 10:30 a.m. Wednesday from a man who gave his name as David Sawyer and said he was calling from Publishers Clearing House and that she had won $2.5 million.

McCarthy's first thought?

"I don't have time for this," McCarthy said. "I told him right off the bat I wasn't going to give any information whatsoever."

The man said he would have to clear the check with the Internal Revenue Service to see if McCarthy owed them money. He said he would call her at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday and that "immediately following they would be coming with my check" according to McCarthy.

McCarthy did not receive the call. She called the number the man gave her. He returned her call later and said he was having trouble with the IRS and the bank was closed and that he would call her 9 a.m. Thursday.

When the man didn't call her Thursday right at 9 a.m., she called him and the man said he was on his way to the airport at Dyersville and would be in Estherville in an hour.

Not long after that, the man called and asked McCarthy how far she lived from a Wal-Mart. He said he needed her to go to a Wal-Mart and wire him $376 for a "winner's fee".

"He was going to come to my house and we were going to do the money thing at Wal-Mart," McCarthy said. "I haven't heard anything yet. I'm still waiting for them to come to my house."

McCarthy had a friend call Publishers Clearing House Wednesday. The friend was told there was nothing to the story McCarthy had been told about being a winner.

McCarthy said she had also heard that some people in Estherville have received checks in the mail with instructions that they needed to give the sender money in order to cash them.



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