Martha’s Vineyard Community Notes


Police caution elderly about mail scam

West Tisbury police said an elderly woman recently fell victim to a scam in which the thieves pretended to be representatives of the Publishers Clearing House (PCH), the company best known for a sweepstakes promotion.

Police said the woman received a letter in the mail, supposedly from Publishers Clearing House, informing her that she had won millions of dollars and only needed to send in a check to qualify for her prize.

After the woman called a phone number in the letter she was subjected to a series of harassing phone calls, and she sent a check. She had won nothing, police said, but was victim of a common mail scam.

According to PCH, “If you are ever contacted by someone claiming to represent PCH, or claiming to be one of our employees, and asked to send or wire money (for any reason whatsoever, including taxes); or send a pre-paid gift card or Green Dot Moneypak card in order to claim a sweepstakes prize – Don’t! It’s a scam. If you are sent a check, told it’s a partial prize award, and asked to cash it and send a portion back to claim the full prize award, don’t. The check is fake, but the scam is real!

Publishers Clearing House does not operate this way and would never ask for money to claim a prize award. PCH employees would never contact you personally or in advance to notify you of a prize award. Our prize awards are presented just the way you see in our popular TV commercials, ‘live and in person’ by our Prize Patrol, with balloons, champagne and check in hand, and with no advance notification!

Scammers use any means available – mail; telephone; internet; email and even Facebook! Whatever the method of contact, their main goal is to deceive you into believing you’ve won a prize award and need to send a prepayment to claim that prize. Don’t fall for it!”

Food Pantry kicks off Campaign 36

The Martha’s Vineyard Food Pantry has kicked off a campaign to help families that have seen their SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program, also known as food stamps) benefits cut. Food pantry coordinator Armen Hanjian said a family of four has lost $36 in benefits per month, exacerbating the already challenging task of providing both adults and children with enough nutritious food.”

The goal of the campaign, Mr. Hanjian said, is two-fold: to encourage those on SNAP to use the food pantry, if they are not already doing so, and encourage others in need of assistance to access its offerings; and to help make up the difference caused by the federal budget cutback.

The food pantry will use donations to purchase Stop and Shop gift cards in quantity at a 5 percent discount. In 2013, the pantry purchased $58,971 in gift cards at a cost of $47,500.

The food pantry, located at the Stone Church on William Street in Vineyard Haven, is open from 2 to 4 pm, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Individuals may load up on food twice a month, and receive a gift card once a month.

For more information, go to or call 508-696-8225.

Website makes passport process easy

The West Tisbury Library advises would-be travelers that almost everything they need to know about renewing their expired passport or applying for a new one can be found at, the government’s easy-to-use website.

In addition to the rundown on passports, you’ll find travel warnings and alerts, as well as information about visas, intercountry adoption, international travel, student exchanges and more, according to a library press release.

Passport photos are available at Mosher Photo (508-693-9430) and the UPS Store (508-696-0600). A passport agent is available at one of the following locations: West Tisbury Free Public Library (Call for an appointment with a passport agent, 508-693-3366); Vineyard Haven Post Office (508-693-2818, Passport acceptance hours: Mon.–Fri., 8:30 am–4 pm, Sat., 10 am–12 noon); and Dukes County Courthouse in Edgartown (508-627-4668, Passport hours: Mon.–Fri., 9–11 am, 1–3 pm).