Publishers Clearing House Scam Buster Tips

Publishers Clearing House scam warning: Beware fake check scams are on the rise! At PCH – as with any legitimate sweepstakes company – the winning is always free!

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 fill out a Scam Incident Report.   If you receive a suspicious email fraudulently claiming to be from PCH, PCHLotto or PCHSearch&Win, please fill out a Scam Incident Report.

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




Margaret Crossan

PCH Consumer Affairs Department

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  1. A Henry Miller just ask me for a friends request he says he works for PCH and he is a General Claims Agent is this true?

  2. Today my cell phone was called by a guy with a Middle East-sounding accent & claimed to be the “Prize Director” from PCH & I had won $1.5M and a new 2016 GMC Denali pickup/van. He claimed his name was David Benjamin. A second man with similar accent was involved in the scam, who called my home phone number after a lengthy exchange and I had unfortunately provided my address & home phone number (it was very convincing & he was aggressive). At one point, I had each man on both phones at once.

    To claim the prize (which they would deliver today) I had to write a check for $699 to pre-pay a “check fee”, and had to go to a Wal-Mart to wire some money or something complicated involving $5000. I was suspicious all along but am unemployed right now so at least considered it. We got disconnected a couple of times but they called back. When I didn’t go for it, they “gave me an hour to think about it”. They then called back & I wanted to do a web search before I went any further, so told them to give me another hour. Glad I stalled & waited and found this website to know it was a real scam before their next call-back! They take advantage by not allowing you to get off the phone to search the web for this to be a scam.

    Another suspicious thing was they wanted to STAY ON THE LINE WITH MY CELL PHONE THROUGH THE WHOLE PROCESS AT MY BANK & WAL MART TO “ASSIST ME THROUGH THE PROCESS”. Also he claimed “God chose me today to win”, and kept bringing that type of thing up as if he was religious.

    Warning to everyone about this scam! Very aggressive & sophisticated. I half expect them to call me back again but I’ll tell them to go away. I hope that’s the last I hear from them & now feel stupid to gone along as far as I did, providing my home address & phone number. The number they called from was 876-436-5374 and I later looked at my full caller ID & it said it was from Kingston, Jamaica.

    Every time I said this was suspicious they “reassured me” that nobody was going to harm me, or anything. He did seem like a nice re-assuring man so watch out!

    1. Hi James. We’re sorry to hear that you were contacted by someone claiming to be from the real PCH. We take the issue of scams very seriously and we strive to educate our consumers on what to watch for and how to protect themselves. We regularly post links to our PCH Fan Page with valuable information for our fans. Here’s one of those links that I encourage you to take a look at: Since scammers are sneaky and many of them are overseas, it’s not always easy to catch them. We feel that it’s a “team-effort” to try to stop them which is why we ask that you report all scam contacts to us here: Be careful and stay safe everyone!!

  3. I received a phone call stating I had won 3.5 million, 5,000 for life and a 2016 Mercedes. The phone number came through as “unknown”. I feel like this is a scam and want to know how you get notified IF you really are a winner. Please respond… The man’s name (supposedly) was James Goodwin.

  4. Today, I received a second call (tel # 1 800-966-6596 from Lubbock, Tx.) to inform me the reason I have not received the $6.5 million, the $7,000 per week for life, and the 2016 Mercedes Benz, because I have not sent the $999 in Taxes I owe to the IRS. The fellow who called me wanted to know WHY I have not paid the taxes yet. I told him that I called that IRS, and they knew nothing about it.
    The fellow used a profane language and broke the connection. (I think his name was James or Charles Kennedy.. I am sure it is a made up name)
    Then I called The Publishers Clearing House to report it gain. The first Scam call I received was on Thursday or Friday last week, and I reported it to the PCH and sent them the 16 page message I received from the scammers. I am sending it again, in case it got lost. It looks very professional.

    Ari A Pieniek
    3997 Grousewood Dr.
    Myrtle Beach, SC. 29588

    Winners Notification(19).docx (4,215K)