DARIEN — A “Publishers Clearinghouse” sweepstakes mail scam has been popping up throughout town, police said.

Victims were sent a document saying they won a substantial amount of money in the sweepstakes. A check is included and the victim is told to contact the claim manager before cashing the check. If this unexpected bit of mail wasn’t enough of a red flag, the victim is also told not to contact anyone else about the prize.

“The amount the check is make out for is substantially higher than the amount the recipients are supposed to have won,” police said. “The recipient is instructed to deposit the check, and send a refund of part or all of the difference to a location in New York.”

The scam letter tells victims to send the refund in the form of a money order or other untraceable means.

“The ultimate goal of the scam is to have the victim send the refund prior to realizing the check is fraudulent,” police said.

This overpayment/refund scam takes various forms, police said. Anyone who encounters a situations like this should call the Darien Police Department.