In the past five years, the odds of winning the Publisher's Clearinghouse Grand Prize Sweepstakes has climbed from one-in-330 million to one-in-1.2 billion.
Despite the long odds, visions of a visit from the prize patrol still excite manyespecially older Arkansans.
Scam artists use that unrealistic optimism to their advantage.
87 year-old Edna Jones says a recent phone call sounded too good to be true but had her seriously wonderingwhat if it's real?
"I knew it wasn't true," Jones assures. "I mean in my heartI knew it."
Jones recently got a phone call informing her she was a big winnercourtesy of Publisher's Clearing House.
"I had won two million dollars$5,000 a week for the rest of my life," recalls Jones. And then he went on telling me how great thatthey're gonna be coming to my door and escorting me to the bank with a check."
Jones is a retired accountant so when the caller informed her that it would only cost her $1,800.00 to claim her winningsshe knew things weren't adding up.
When you are a winner, you get paidyou don't have to pay.
Well, maybe taxes. But that comes out of your winnings, not prior to your winnings.
So she and her dog Ellie remain wiserif not richer.
She is sharing her experience to help protect others.
"I was afraid some innocent, littleI'm a little old lady but I was afraid some little innocent one would take her money out of the bank and send it to them," explains Jones.
Publisher's Clearing House is one of the top tools used by scam artists to target victims, especially seniors.
Edna also has a younger neighbor and close friend looking out for her.
Such a relationship can benefit all senior citizens.
Air date: November 28th, 2012