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

270 thoughts on “Publishers Clearing House Scam Buster Tips”

  1. Some called said it was publishers clearing house said I had great credit rating I won free diamond watch and 3 magazines for a year free enter into a draw but they wanted my credit card # for 3 additional magazines for 3.95$/week I just thought you should now this was in lethbridge, AB Canada is this real ? I’d love a watch !

  2.$5,000.00 a week forever winner infro

  3. Lynda Wager says:

    I got a letter today in envelope with return address of Holt Renfrew, Toronto, Canada.
    Inside is letter and check. Letter shows Publishers Clearing House Advance Financial, LLC, Victorville, CA. Also check for 4210.05 drawn on Norwest Ban Ohio, by C.H..Robinson International. In order to cash check I should call Peter Lee 1-647-607-2580 and then my Certified Check will be delivered by UPS special courier.
    WELL I IMMEDIATELY DID THIS……LOL……………What in the hell do these
    scams think we are stupid. First of all, Holt Renfrew is a high end Department Store in
    Canada. Secondly, the letter is a cut & paste with Publishers Clearing House in
    front of the Advance Financial LLC. I am not sure about CH Robinson International,
    Eden Prairie, MN nor Norwest Bank Ohio, Van Wert, OH. However, each should
    be able to pursue legal action against whoever is using their name to send out
    this stuff.

  4. 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!

  5. 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..

  6. ryan sander says:

    today around 1p.m. my dad said he received a call stating that he had won the pch prize pack an that he should head home from work to meet the prize patrol. they said to call back when he got home. An doing so they now tell him that he need to purchase a card for $1000 to cover taxes on car. Lady was first to call father and used name mary lee. My father stopped over to ask me to borrow some of the money. When he tells me what for I get on the phone an talk to the guy already thinking it was scam. The man tries to reassure me he is with pch and there is no need to contact the BBB. I don’t believe him but my father insist this is real so I put Dad back on phone with man. By now I am convinced its a scam so I start to google stuff about pch winnings an says never ask for money. I also find this page on warning of jamaican pch scam. I finally get my father to hang up an read the article. An they called him back four times in matter of minutes. Finally I picked it up an said I knew all bout this scam now, an he just hung up. I hope they do something about this soon. Hate to think some Jamaican cons getting or old folks money. Because I think my poor dad would of got scammed if he had the money. Phone# called from was 876-401-9328

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