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 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

335 thoughts on “Publishers Clearing House Scam Buster Tips”

  1. Brenda says:

    Tbbhere”s a PCH scam on Facebook right now .I was contacted yesterday by “Dannielle” .It was so real ! Sounding until they asked for 300.00 . They sent the mssg. With her photo and they placed the :prize patrol : on my page.somebody needs to take their scam off Facebook !

    1. PCH Staff PCH Staff says:

      Hi Brenda, thank you so much for the warning! The real Prize Patrol never sends friend requests, winner notifications, or private messages on Social Media, and you never need to pay to claim a PCH prize. The ONLY way you would know if you won a major prize is by the Prize Patrol showing up at your door, and we do not contact winners in advance! Do not give the scammers ANY of your personal information or any money! Check out this blog to find out how to prevent them from contacting you: Please report any and all scams to us by completing a scam incident report. Click this link to find out how: Stay safe PCH Fans!

  2. Ashley hayes says:

    Hi everyone my name is ashley Hayes and there is a guy name jerry martin and he said that I won please someone help me I need to know if this is a scam thanks in advance

  3. Sheree Krol says:

    John Williams sent you a friend requestConfirm RequestDelete Request
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    Danielle Johnson
    Danielle Johnson That would be amazing to win congratulations
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    John Williams added 4 new photos.
    July 9 at 3:41pm ·
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    Manager at PCHSearchAndWin
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    John Williams’s photo.
    John Williams’s photo.

  4. cody says:

    Tulsa, Oklahoma” A man who claimed to be Jim Miller with PCH contacted my mom at 06:30 this am from phone # (876-392-8496) shows to be a NY phone #. My elderly mother went to the local store and wired $255.00 to an account. JIm MIller is still contacting my mother this am and I told her to advise the FTC with name and # and she contacted the local Authorities. We advised local authorities as JIm supposedly with (PCH) insisted the prize patrol was coming to their home and they would be surprised. I advised my mother that the element of surprise was gone once he advised they were coming! These scammer pray on the elderly and It’s really sad to see these post of folks that get trapped in this scam!

  5. mike says:

    its a scam if you get a call and its arab talking its a scam look at the pch crew there is no arab in there

  6. Coleen Poitinger says:

    Asked to send 475.oo & now processing fee of 750.00?! Is this a scam?!

  7. Dannette says:

    I have a gmail from you but from India they say I won!!! But they want a lot of my information, I wont give it unless it is not a scram!!!! Do you know anything about this? Thanks from

  8. steve says:

    I got a friend in Centerville,indiana that is still senting money to this person thinking that he is going to receive a check for 2.5 million. they told him that there was a problem with the IRS. I really feel bad for him but he calls me a hater.

  9. Judith says:

    Wll it happen to me today

  10. Eric Lowe says:

    I just got a call from Micheal Anderson that I won 2.5 million! Knowing it was a scam soon as he told me to wire him $750 for prosser fees. I explained to him that im 500% below the poverty level and that its a shame to do this tos so horrendous, I have no idea were to start. Was told multiple times that everyone in my 3 rooms would be covered for the water park too.. No so as they wanted more $. They charge outages amount off my credit card for amenities they don’t otherwise tell you about. Austin who those who are struggling. I am out of a job raising 5 daughters! I dont even have a nickle to ny name let alone $750…lol

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