PCH Scam Alert: Are You Aware of the Signs?
Does this sound familiar to you?
You receive an email, letter or phone call claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House and informing you that you’ve won the PCH sweepstakes! To claim your prize, you must call a given number. Your heart races as you dial the number. As you thank the person on the other end and dream about all of your plans for the money, you are hardly able to stand up! That’s when you are told that you must do a few things before your “prize” is awarded to you.You may be asked to provide private financial information, or are told to wire or send a payment for some tax or legal fee in order to claim your prize The contact may provide you an address to send or wire the money.Something feels wrong but you’re torn. Should you respond or would you be missing out on the chance of a lifetime?
Here’s the correct answer: DO NOT RESPOND TO SUCH AN OFFER! If you’ve been in this situation, then you know what’s really going on here. Scammers are fraudulently using the Publishers Clearing House name, as well as the names of some of our legitimate employees, to steal money and information from unsuspecting people. We take consumer protection and these reports of the the abuse of our name very seriously and are committed to making sure that consumers are not fooled by these fraudsters. At PCH we also work closely with law enforcement around the country, providing information to fight back against the criminals! And, we are making progress with arrests and convictions by law enforcement against these scam artists!
We know that the dream of winning the sweepstakes is alive in all of our customers and friends. We love your passion and commitment to entering. But please keep your head about you, and do not let yourself be ruled by your emotions, if you find yourself in a situation like the one mentioned above. If you feel that something isn’t right, listen to your gut! Take the time to verify the information you are being presented with.
Watch out for these warning signs. You can find more helpful information at our Consumer Affairs site:
1) There is no catch with PCH. When we say “no purchase necessary,” we mean it. We’ll never ask you to pay a fee, send money, or make a purchase in order to enter or claim a prize.
2) PCH winners are notified in person by the Prize Patrol or by certified mail. Publishers Clearing House does not call or email winners ahead of time. The surprised faces and screams you see on our famous television commercials are the actual moments when our lucky winners first find out they have won! Many scammers make phone calls and claim to work at PCH. This is a huge red flag! If you won a $1,000,000.00 prize, we wouldn’t call you. Dave Sayer, Danielle Lam, and Todd Sloane would surprise you with a Big Check.
3) If you receive a check claiming to be from a legitimate sweepstakes and are asked to cash it and are then asked to wire or send a portion back — STOP — you are the victim of a scam contact. The check is not real! Consumers should always remember that at Publishers Clearing House no payment or fee is ever necessary to enter or claim a prize.
4) If you are asked to provide your credit card number or provide your financial bank account information in order to claim a sweepstakes prize — STOP. Fraudulent scam artists often request this information and then go on a spending spree with your credit card; or wipe out your bank account.
If you are ever unsure about communications from PCH, do not hesitate to contact PCH with your concerns! You can contact Customer Service by sending a message via the Ask Us page. Also, you can ask any PCH employee on Facebook: Danielle Lam, Laura Wolfe, and Victoria Zimmerman. We’re all happy to assist you!
If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer we recommend that you contact your local consumer protection officials and file a complaint with the National Fraud Information Center at www.fraud.org. Your complaint may help others and will be useful to law enforcement in stopping the scams. You may also forward the suspicious email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or report this occurrence to us using our toll-free number 1-800-392-4190.
Remember, if something feels wrong or doesn’t look right, think twice!