Many of you already know that Consumer Protection is a huge focus for all of us here at PCH. If you follow our Fan Pages and the blog regularly, you will consistently see our updates about how to stay safe from scams posing as the real PCH.
And nothing makes me happier than seeing all of you reply to questions and comments from other fans regarding consumer protection issues. Here’s a perfect example. The other day on the PCH Fan Page on Facebook, I came across the question “Did Danielle send me a friend request?” Before I even had the chance to answer that the Prize Patrol never sends friend requests on Facebook, five different fans had already chimed in with responses like “No! That’s a scam!” and “Danielle doesn’t send friend requests! Do not accept it!” I’m so proud to say that we have such smart fans that can spot scammers. After all, scammers are the worst, aren’t they?
Working at Publishers Clearing House for over two years, I’ve heard a lot of reports about PCH scams. And it makes my blood boil. The fact these scammers want to trick unsuspecting fans like you really gets my goose. Sometimes, I just want to give the scammers a piece of my mind. And I know that so many of you do, too. But please do not engage with these PCH scammers under any circumstances!
Fans have admitted to us that sometimes they’ve accepted a scammer’s friend request just to tell the scammer that they were on to them! And guess what…that gets me even more upset! Why? Because by accepting the friend request, you could potentially put ALL your Facebook friends in danger! How? The scammer you have just accepted may now have access to YOUR friend list. And they may be able to friend or contact anyone on that list. Like, your grandma. Do you really want to risk having your nana or another family member or friend scammed?
Imagine this. You’re sitting there on Facebook trying to bait the scammer just like they tried to bait you. You accept the “friend request” and you’re going along with everything the Fake Danielle is saying to you. You’re letting the scammer think you believe that you really did win a million dollars and you’re just waiting for the perfect moment in the chat to tell them that the jig is up. Meanwhile, the scammer looked at your page and right on top was a post from Grandma. So the scammer friended Nana and started the same chat he/she started with you. But Nana believed them. And she ran right out to get that Green Dot MoneyPak card they wanted. And she gave it to them. So while you may be sitting pretty feeling good about yourself for telling the scammer to buzz off, Nana may be rushing to Wal-Mart to spend a good chunk of her savings. Don’t let that happen! As you know, if someone tells you to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak prepaid card to collect a prize from Publishers Clearing House, IT’S AN IMPOSTER PCH SCAM!
I know sometimes it can take all the self-restraint in the world to just ignore these scammers. But for the sake of everyone, please do NOT engage with them! Don’t accept their friend requests on Facebook no matter what. And if you are contacted by a scammer, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org! That way we can forward the information on to the professionals in law enforcement who can target the bad guys and put them away.
Here’s another helpful hint. If you’ve never accepted a friend request from a scammer, but you’ve received a message from one anyway, check your privacy setting.
How To Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings
1. Log into Facebook from your desktop computer.
2. On the top right hand side of the page click the small icon that looks like a padlock. These are your privacy settings.
3. Click on “Who Can Contact Me.”
4. Look at the settings beneath the question “Whose Messages Do I Want Filtered Into My Inbox?” Selecting “Strict Filtering” will make it more difficult for scammers to chat with you.
5. Then look at the settings beneath the question “Who Can Send Me Friend Requests” and make sure that it is set to “Friends of Friends.” Leaving it set to “Everyone” may be a personal preference, but keep in mind that scammers can then send you friend requests.
Stay safe everyone!
Social Media Team