Dear Heloise: There is a new scam going around the United States. It goes like this: They tell you you’ve won $2.5 million from a well-known publisher’s clearing house, plus $7,000 weekly for the rest of your life. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, there are some government charges ($9,763) involved, and you’ll need to pay those first. Then they ask for your bank account number and your routing number — supposedly so they can transfer your winnings into your account. The recorded message frequently tells you to push button No. 1 to claim your prize. DON’T DO IT. Also, don’t give anyone your banking information. These people are looking to take every dollar you have.

Remember, prize winners are usually notified by mail first and not called out of the blue. Protect yourself by NEVER giving out financial or banking information to a stranger on the other end of a phone call.

—Jerome D., Dallas