Publisher's Clearing House Scam Alert
While sweepstakes and giveaway contests are fun, exciting, and rewarding, it’s important to recognize the difference between legitimate contests and scams to protect you and your family. Publishers Clearing House (PCH) has been a well-known brand for over 50 years. Unfortunately, scammers rely on that brand recognition to gain the trust of their victims. Scammers are resourceful and will use any means available to deceive you. Their goal is to make you believe you won a prize, and convince you to pre-pay to claim it. Do not fall for it – here’s more information to help keep you protected from these scams.
You will never be asked to send money or wire funds to claim a prize.
If you are asked to pay fees, taxes, or load funds onto a gift card, it probably isn’t a legitimate sweepstakes prize. Likewise, if you receive a check and you’re asked to cash it and send a portion of the funds to the sender, it’s likely to be a fraudulent check. The check will ultimately bounce, and you will be responsible for the amount you sent back.
You will not be contacted by phone, email, text, or social media.
PCH employees will never contact you personally or in advance about a major prize. Other than sending a mailer to your address with instructions on entering to win, you will never be contacted by a PCH employee. If you win a major prize, PCH Prize Patrol will arrive in person with balloons, flowers, and a giant check with no prior notification, just like you’ve seen on TV. You would only be contacted via email if you entered an online contest for a small prize. They will never contact you via phone, text, or social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Scammers use brand recognition and the names of well-known PCH employees to manipulate vulnerable victims through these forms of communication.
You will not be asked for any personal and or financial information.
Your personal information is just as valuable as money to scammers. Posing as a PCH employee, a scammer will call and ask for you to “verify your identity” by giving them your Social Security number, address, and even bank account details. This information will then be used to commit cybercrimes or identity theft. The scammers could potentially drain your bank account or open new financial accounts in your name.
Always check the Official Rules of any sweepstakes you enter.
Don’t be misled by look-alikes posing as legitimate sweepstakes. PCH will include a Sweepstakes Facts insert in all their mailers. The Official Rules and Sweepstakes Facts will provide all the necessary information for safe gameplay.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is likely just that.
Most sweepstakes are “no purchase necessary.” Therefore, it should not cost you anything to win. You can always verify your wins directly with PCH if you believe you have truly won a prize. Before giving out any information, confirm the award at https://pch.custhelp.com/.
If you have fallen victim to a scam like this, please take steps to prevent it from happening again.
Contact your financial institution to protect your accounts. Next, reach out to your local law enforcement agency to report the incident. Finally, notify the actual sweepstakes of potential scams in their name.