Recognizing the difference between legitimate sweepstakes and other types of offers that may not be legitimate will help you protect yourself and your family.
PCH provides this information as a guide to help stop fraudulent calls.
- Publishers Clearing House (PCH) does NOT
make or authorize outgoing calls to consumers to sell merchandise or
magazines, or to solicit contest entries. Our major winners are notified
by mail or in person (at our option) and we never phone ahead to
disclose that someone has won a major prize. If you receive a phone call
from someone claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House and are
asked to send money, pay a fee or pre-pay taxes to enter, collect or
claim a sweepstakes prize - STOP - you have not heard from the “real”
Publishers Clearing House. The call you received was most likely from a
fraudulent sweepstakes scam operation. At Publishers Clearing House the winning is always free.
- Publishers Clearing House has recently been made aware of fraudulent
text messages, which include a reference to the "Prize Patrol," being
sent to mobile devices by scam artists. Recipients are told they have
won a $1,000 Walmart gift card and are then asked to reply and visit a
particular internet site where they will be asked to provide certain
private and personal information. These sites are bogus and are in no
way affiliated with Publishers Clearing House or our famous Prize
Patrol. The message that you have won a Walmart gift card is bogus and
any mention of Publishers Clearing House, our employees, or the PCH
Prize Patrol is fraudulent and being used without our permission or
authorization. Consumers should not respond to these bogus text messages
and should not share personal or private information which could lead
to identity theft or credit card fraud.
- Publishers Clearing House wants to warn you about scam artists
sending out real looking checks in an attempt to get you to send money!
Here’s how the “Fake Check” scam works. Scam artists send you an
official looking letter claiming to be from a legitimate sweepstakes.
The letter may illegally use the name of a well known company like
Publishers Clearing House or a sound alike name in an attempt to build
trust. (These offers are not affiliated in any way with Publishers Clearing House!) The letter encloses a real looking check that may appear legitimate. Even your bank may be fooled.
What’s the catch? Even though the check is bogus, if you deposit the check the money may be available to you for a short time. Under federal law, banks make the funds you deposit available quickly – usually within one to five days, depending on the type of check. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good. It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce. And that’s what the scam artists are counting on. They hope that if you believe the check is real you’ll be willing to send them money back.
The scammers may tell you that you were given “an advance on a sweepstakes prize” and that some “fee, tax or additional payment” is necessary. You may be told you are being paid the “first installment” on millions and that “you will receive more after wiring a portion back.” Whatever the set-up in the scam offers, the results are the same. If you send money back you’ll be out twice. YOU are responsible for checks or monies deposited into your account. When a check or money order bounces YOU will owe the bank the money you withdrew and the scammer will have the additional money sent in his/her pocket!
A legitimate sweepstakes will NEVER ask you to send money to enter a sweepstakes, claim a prize, or to pay a fee, tax or deposit. Consumers should always remember that at Publishers Clearing House no payment is ever necessary to claim a prize. If someone contacts you about winning a prize and requests that you send money back in return for any reason – STOP – you have not heard from the real Publishers Clearing House. There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back. This is not the way legitimate sweepstakes work! If you believe you are the victim of a “Fake Check Scam” using the Publishers Clearing House name or logo, please contact us immediately by calling our toll free number at 1-800-392-4190. Consumers are also advised to contact their local consumer protection officials or the National Fraud Center at www.fraud.org. No matter whether mail, phone or email, remember NO PURCHASE NECESSARY…The only sweepstakes rule you need to know!