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A retired pastor is alerting residents to be careful about falling for a scam.

Bruce Montgomery of Gresham reported to police that on Friday, March 22, he received a call from a man claiming to be with the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

The man had good news: Montgomery had won $850,000 and a Mercedes, but in order to collect his winnings, he had to provide $850.

“It sounds like a scam to me,” Montgomery told the man and hung up.

Montgomery reported the incident to police, alarmed in part because the caller — who spoke with a foreign accent — knew Montgomery’s date of birth. “It just troubles me,” said Montgomery, who is retired as pastor of Pleasant Home United Methodist Church. “There are seniors who are just cleaned out by these things.”

The Oregon Department of Justice warns that if you have to pay upfront taxes, fees or shipping charges to collect a prize or win a contest, chances are it’s a scam.

If you think you’ve been victimized in a contest, sweepstakes or prize-offer scam, or want to report a person, company or agency that could be engaging in such scams, call your local police and the Oregon attorney general at 1-877-877-9392.

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