Publishers Clearing House Scam Buster Tips

Publishers Clearing House scam warning:  Beware fake check scams are on the rise!

Fake check schemes, where consumers are lured into accepting phony checks in return for sending or wiring cash to a fraudster, can prove costly to unsuspecting consumers.  These check scams are the most frequently reported scam complaints.  And, many use “sweepstakes” as a ruse – telling victims they have won millions of dollars but must first pay taxes or other fees out of the advance check, before they can claim the rest of the prize.  Don’t believe it!  At Publishers Clearing House – as with any legitimate sweepstakes company – the winning is always free!

In these difficult economic times, Publishers Clearing House Scam Busters want to remind you to be wary of sweepstakes offers that may sound too good to be true.  Many consumers are looking for new and different ways to make ends meet and may be tempted to believe an offer they would otherwise not even consider. 

Here are three very important tips to avoid getting scammed:

  1. If someone sends you a check and asks you to send money back in return, don’t! – If you are told you have won a prize and are asked to cash a check and send or wire money back, do not! The check is a fake.  Legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay a fee to claim a prize.
  2. If the company name sounds familiar or legitimate and you assume you can trust it, think again!  – Scammers oftentimes use the names of legitimate companies in an attempt to deceive and gain consumers trust.  Criminals will pretend to be affiliated with well-known, recognized and trusted brand names.  Always contact the legitimate company and talk to one of their representatives.
  3. If someone asks you to wire money to claim a sweepstakes prize, don’t!Most scammers will advise consumers to wire money via a money-transfer service.  Con-artists want money sent to them via a money-transfer service because it’s quick, it’s cash and it’s virtually impossible to trace and recover.  Wiring money is like sending cash and once it’s gone, it’s usually gone.

As members of the Consumer Federation of America’s Fake Check task force which runs under the auspices of the National Consumers League, we work together to reduce these scams. At PCH we take consumer protection and the fraudulent use of our good name very seriously and go to great lengths to combat these scams and protect our customers.  You can read more at

Remember, at Publishers Clearing House, the winning is always free.  If you are ever asked to send or wire money to claim a sweepstakes prize, you are being scammed. It’s just that simple! If you believe you have been the victim of a fraudulent contact using the name of Publishers Clearing House, please contact us at 1-800-392-4190.   If you receive a suspicious email fraudulently claiming to be from PCH, PCHLotto or PCHSearch&Win, forward it to our Publishers Clearing House scam reporting mailbox,

Visit us online at and click on our Customer Service/Info Center for more sweepstakes scam protection tips!




Margaret Crossan

PCH Consumer Affairs Department

260 thoughts on “Publishers Clearing House Scam Buster Tips”

  1. JG says:

    i got a call from these same people today. it sounded too fishy to be true so I did not claim my “prize” or any of my info. The names they gave me –which are so unbelievable for the thick Jamaican accents they have –! are Mark Anderson (“general manager”. John Dixon “truck driver” supposedly 45 minutes away with my “car” and check but also poses as the person who transfers you to “Mark Anderson” when you call that long distance number. ASK them for their personal info if they try to get yours! Also, PCH SURPRISES their winners to see their reactions,… never calls beforehand!

  2. sanders says:

    I was contacted by amd told I won and after giving my information unbeknownst that it was a scam.. Now I have to take precautions to protect myself n future. Callin irs flagging my social security number n bank acct. This has jus ruined my LIFE. So sad ppl really are out to destroy ppl n their faith in great opportunities. I hope I protected MYSELF in a timely manner b4 they did anything wrong..

  3. 2nd attempted PCH scam recipient says:

    Received telephone call stating was winner of $800,000 and new car. Was advised to call William Brown, General Manager at 1-876-776-2404 Ext 5, to verify winning. Telephone was answered as Publishers Clearing House and call forwarded to ext. Was told needed to buy a Government approval card from major store such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid or CVS Pharmacy. Person insisted staying on phone until arrived at store and was advised by “William Brown” that according to “Frank Miller” a card needed to be purchased for $250.00 and would be re-imbursed by attorney, Ms. Sheila Campbell. They also stated that confirmation # was 100603 US and package won was 5507B. Told them would not purchase a card and they asked what charity winning should be given to. The man was not happy when I told him American Cancer Society.

  4. Mike says:

    I mean “John Ford” speaks with a Jamaican accent and pushes to act now…

  5. Mike says:

    I was called by “John Ford” and “Nancy Parker” probably not their real names. Their scam is they want you to send money to cover taxes of the winnings. They call from 876 587 0517 from “Jamaica” or “unlisted.” John Parker speaks with a Jamaican accent. Do not be fooled, he acts very confident and pushy.

  6. Barbara says:

    I was called this evening and informed I won a PCH 2nd prize of $950,000 and a car. They tolde me to call 876278-2341. I didn’t of course, but wanted you to know Jamaica area code is at it again!

  7. margaret manley says:

    I had a call from a Raymond jonhson saying I had won and he gave me this phone number to after I paid 182.50 in a green dot card the number he gave me was 18763978770

  8. Justin Francis says:

    I was scammed today by James Holly, claiming to be from Publisher’s Clearing House, using the number 876-585-1311, coming up a Jamaica area. Do not pick up this number! I was dumb enough to give him almost $2100 because I did register to win from the company.

    I have now lost trust in the Publisher’s Clearing House name. I don’t believe in this company or its claims due to my experience today.

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