In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, Publishers Clearing House would like to remind you to BEWARE of scams posing as legitimate sweepstakes that ask you to send money. Remember, in the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, the winning is always FREE! If you are being asked to send or wire money, or purchase a pre-paid card in order to claim a ‘prize award’ you have not heard from the real PCH and you are being SCAMMED!
Some scam artists may send out real looking checks in an attempt to get you to send money. DO NOT fall for these Fake Check Scams. You may receive an official looking letter that includes what appears to be a real looking check. Using a variety of false promises, the scammers will tell you to wire back a portion of the check – they will tell you this is your cost for taxes or processing fees. Whatever the set-up, the results are always the same. If you send money back you’ll be out twice. YOU will owe the bank the money you withdrew and the scammer will have the money you sent in his/her pocket!
Some scammers will call you on the phone and ask you to purchase a pre-paid Green Dot Money Pak card and then provide them with the number on the back. These cards can be accessed remotely using the card numbers so DON’T fall for this. Once you provide the scammer with the number on the card the scammer has your money and you will never see it again. And, be aware that many of these calls originate from an 876 area code out of Jamaica.
At Publishers Clearing House we have been attacking scams like these with a number of comprehensive consumer protection programs. From an educational standpoint we have posted consumer alerts on our website at pch.com and in our mail. We have recorded anti-scam messages on our toll-free customer service lines, and ask consumers to provide us details of the scams so we can share information with law enforcement officials including the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys General. In many instances we can move quickly after receiving complaints to have phone numbers supporting these scams immediately shut down. PCH is also a proud member of the National Consumers League Alliance Against Fraud where both private and regulatory members meet regularly to share efforts to combat these ongoing scams. We continue to partner with law enforcement officials including the FBI, Postal Inspection Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Federal Trade Commission to develop new efforts to target the scammers and bring them to justice.
Be smart. Be safe. Be protected. If you or someone you know believes they have been the victim of a fraudulent contact using the name of Publishers Clearing House, please report it immediately using our Scam Incident Report.
And for more information on National Consumer Protection Week and free consumers services that can help you, here’s a special video put together just for this occasion by the Federal Trade Commission.
Assistant Vice President, Consumer & Legal Affairs