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. Got a fake letter telling me to call Kevin Johnson at a 747 number to get instruction to get award .Letter had weird return address in Dublin ,and post marks were from foreign country

  2. I just received a check for 7,897.00 with a phone number and ext to call. I knew this was fake, but I looked up the phone number 1-437-983-1715 which came up invalid. I also contact the company the check was drawn on, Teligent EMS from Havana Florida and the lady said dont cash it its’ fraud. The public needs to be aware of this.

  3. Any/ALL 876-xxx-xxxx phone Numbers ARE SCAMMERS!! I’ve just finished compiling a list of over 70 of these numbers and at least 50 “FAKE” Names used that are associated with these numbers and them.

    All callers state they are from PCH but are NOT. Myself, Ms. Wilma Capps-TN; Mr. Frank Lewis-VA; have ALL been SCAMMED out of over $50,000.00+ from these folks and I’m sure there are many, many others. They DON’T CARE if you have food to eat or money to pay your bills or even gas in your car.

    They want you to buy and to mail them NEW Iphones (US phone #’s); Open bank accounts and send them the debit cards; Mortgage your homes; Sell your Life Insurance to pay the taxes and Pawn your vehicle or other items of value to pay the “FEE” they want. They even WANT you to PAY FOR TIME ON THEIR 876 PHONES SO THEY CAN KEEP SCAMMING PEOPLE!

    They change their names with the call and fees – We have been told that they are, “LIVING ON $135,000.00 A MONTH, HAVE MANIONS, MAIDS GARDNERS AND DRIVE COMPANY CARS BUT FIND IT HARD TO LIVE ON SUCH A SMALL AMOUNT.”

    1. Hi Paula. One of the many great things about PCH is that it’s always free to enter and free to win; you never have to pay to claim a prize. Sadly, there are scammers out there who use our good name and reputation to try to deceive people. Often times these scammers will ask for money to claim your “prize”. If you are ever contacted by a scammer, do not give them any personal information and definitely don’t send them any money. Instead, please report all scam contacts that you receive to us via this link: I also encourage you to check out these Safety Tips for some great ways to protect yourself from being scammed. Please be careful everyone; don’t become a scammer’s victim!
      Sadly, there are scammers out there who use our good name and reputation to try to deceive people. If you are ever contacted by someone who is posing as the real PCH, please report it to us via this link: I also encourage you to check out this blog article for some great info about what you can do to stop scammers from contacting you on Facebook: