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 http://help.pch.com/consumer.

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 www.pch.com and click on our Customer Service/Info Center for more sweepstakes scam protection tips!

 

 

 

Margaret Crossan

PCH Consumer Affairs Department

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Comments

  1. Received a call from 916.222.3235 stating from PCH. Requested $299 reloadable green dot card to validate for “gold seal” check. This PCH blog says it all. I also called the PCH fraud line listed. Now waiting on the real PCH delivery (wishing out loud). Good Luck all!

    1. Hi, Thomas. Unfortunately, this sounds like a scam. The offer you’re describing did not come from Publishers Clearing House. PCH, like any legitimate Sweepstakes, will never ask you to pay any fee or make a purchase to claim a prize. You may report this occurrence to us using our toll-free number 1-800-392-4190. We also recommend that you report this incident to the National Fraud Center at http://www.fraud.org. Thanks!

  2. Was just contacted at my office by a JAMES BALLEY to say I was a first place winner of $5 million plus a Mercedes. First it was a blocked no. I insisted on a real tel. no. – was given 876-293-8581 with a “general manager name of MARK WASHINGTON. I insisted on something in writing before I would give them any personal information. They will supposedly send something to my e-mail. They sound from the islands in the Caribbean. The number they called is my office number which I never use for PCH submissions. Most PCH submissions are in the name of my wife. If it is too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Since this is a Saturday, I will call your hotline on Monday to verify that this is, indeed, a scam.

    1. Hi P.,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is definitely a scam. The offer you’re describing did not come from Publishers Clearing House. PCH, like any legitimate Sweepstakes, will never ask you to pay any fee or make a purchase to claim a prize. You may report this occurrence to us using our toll-free number 1-800-392-4190. We also recommend that you report this incident to the National Fraud Center at http://www.fraud.org.

      Victoria At PCH

  3. I have recieved many e mail staeting that I have won millions of $. and i was to send money to get the money, I almost did. R .g.

    1. Hi Ronald,

      If you still have any of those emails, you may forward them to us at abuse@pch.com or report this occurrence to us using our toll-free number 1-800-392-4190. We also recommend that you report this incident to the National Fraud Center at http://www.fraud.org.

      Victoria At PCH

  4. Update from my previous post:

    “AGENT MALONE” just called back and insisted he speak to my HUB BAN. (GEEZ!) I refused; explained he must talk to me. He became very abusive calling me M-fker etc and I told him to kiss a part of my anatomy that I cannot leave here and I hung up the phone.

    BEWARE!

  5. My husband just now got off the phone with Agent Malone who asked him to go to Walmart and purchase a BLUE STAMP and you guys would be in our driveway delivering his $250K and collect the $250 stamp he was to purchase. That Scam did not work out well for him.

    Phone call from Agent Malone is as follows:

    1-876-401-6737 Ext 5

    1. Hi Ms. Hobbins,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You have definitely been the victim of a scam. The offer you’re describing did not come from Publishers Clearing House. PCH does not notify winners by phone. Also, there is never a catch with entering or winning any PCH Sweepstakes. PCH, like any legitimate Sweepstakes, will never ask you to pay any fee or make a purchase to claim a prize. You may report this occurrence to us using our toll-free number 1-800-392-4190. We also recommend that you report this incident to the National Fraud Center at http://www.fraud.org.

      Victoria At PCH

  6. I, Roger S. Trimnal recieve mailings almost daily from American Sweepstakes Publishers Corporate Headquarters Opportunities unlimited Publishers,H.S. Halsey Auditor in Chief,Corporate Headquarters, International Headquarters,Awards Notification,ANC, all of Kansas City, Kansas. Are these part of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse sweep stakes of not? They usually ask for small fees.

    1. Hi Roger,

      These are not offers from Publishers Clearing House. PCH would never ask you to pay a fee to enter or to win any PCH sweepstakes!

      Victoria At PCH

  7. I think pch is a scam, they say you don’t have to buy anything, well that’s true, but why does pch send offers in the mail with your entry chance to win?, why don’t you send them separately, see I think that’s the scam part, you know someone is bound to see a offer they can’t refuse, wham bam thank you ma’am, pch got your money and you don’t win anything here

    1. Hi Niki,

      We’re sorry you feel this way. PCH does surprise real winners. Many of our winners did not make a purchase with their winning entry. The two systems are counted completely separately. Buying really doesn’t improve your chances of winning.

      Victoria At PCH

  8. Who would really sign a quick claim deed to their house over to a stranger? We all wish for free money but it seems most of the people here that do not have enough sense not to give away their own money can not even speak english or the american form there of. Your chance of winning on here as well as any other lotto is the same as getting attacked by a poler bear and a brown bear on the same day in the middle of New York. So the only way to win it is be in it but do not allow your hopeful wishes to over ride your better judgment.

  9. good moreing to eveyone out there there is a fraud scam out there on the publisher clearing house on my yahoo .com i get a e-mail from lates nigth from a guy name is mr greg alyster and i think he is a scam and anther name is hannah greenwood also i did not get a call from them all a letter but if i do i just wont them to get them in jail for fraud beacuse i no ho is the readly pize publisher clearing house they send me a e-mail saiding that i won the pubisher clearing house at this time 10pm at nigth

  10. I recv’d many phone calls from a amn named Omar Brandford stating he was from the Publisher’s Clearing House/Mega Million Dollar winners. He said I was the winner of 1-1/2 Million Dollars and a 53″ flat Screened TV and all I had to do is use Western Union to wire $350.00 to the IRS to rec’ve my prise. I bet I got 20 Phone calls from him asking if I sent the money and then he became threatening, stating they have ways to get the money out of me.
    I told him, I was going to the police if he didn’t stop calling my phone. The calls have finally stoppe. I spooke with the reall Publisher’s Clearing house and he made me feel much better. Thank you for all your wonderful help.