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

308 thoughts on “Publishers Clearing House Scam Buster Tips”

  1. sergio says:

    I just had a call from publishers cleaning house saying I was a 2nd place winner for million dollars and a vehicle he said his name was Chris cooper and was a gm over there is this true or just a scam

    1. PCH Staff PCH Staff says:

      That was not the real PCH. We don’t notify winners via phone, standard mail, email, or social media. We also never ask for money to claim a prize. Please report all scam contacts to us via this link: We encourage everyone to review the following Safety Tips to better protect themselves from being scammed:

  2. Troy says:

    I recieved a phone call from a place called publishers services asking me to verify my information. They told me I was a top 100 candidate for the million dollar prize. Is this real or not?

  3. Mario Echeverria says:

    Dear friends: Thanks for the advertencis . This very common and mime has ocurren. ME

  4. Teresa Johnsoni says:

    At pch the winning is always free.I have never had to pay to play no scam here.

  5. This PCH giveaway is a battery killing joke.

  6. Jeff says:

    I just received a letter dated august 15th saying I won 2.5 million there is a check in it for 8K it says for attorneys fees is this a scam?

  7. george murphy says:

    Last evening I recieved a friend me request on Facebook claiming to be Todd Sloane…I am enclosing the conversation. This is a scam, complete with Todd’s photo on the fake web page ” By the way…you guys have me hooked on 52 pickup.

    This message has been temporarily removed because the sender’s account requires verification.
    An elite member…Hmmm…I haven’t been so far Todd…just you…

    This message has been temporarily removed because the sender’s account requires verification.
    Gee…thanks kid…just know there is a free happy meal in ………… This is a piece of it, as Facebook has deleted the comments

  8. Sammie says:

    Just got a call from 1 8675086201 from a “PCH Clearinghouse” Michael. First he said i won 2.5 million then later he said I won 5 million. Wanted me to tell him when i was in my car to go to walmart to get $500 to pay the taxes

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