Fake Publishers Clearing House scams

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Most of us have seen those ads with Publishers Clearing House knocking on someone’s door with balloons and a big check for millions. It’s a life-changing moment marked by joyous tears. Dreams are about to come true.

But the FTC wants to be sure your tears are not sad ones and the dream doesn’t wind up being a nightmare, because scammers are pretending to be Publishers Clearing House and tricking people into sending them money.

Publishers Clearing House and the FTC have both gotten many reports about scammers using the Publishers Clearing House name to deceive people. Scammers call, claiming you’ve won the sweepstakes – but, to collect your prize, you need to send money to pay for so-called fees and taxes.

Paying to collect a prize is a scam. Every time. And scammers like to ask you to send money by Western Union or MoneyGram, or by getting a prepaid card or gift card. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to trace that money – and you’ll almost never get your money back.

If you think you’ve won a prize, here are a few things to know:

  • Publishers Clearing House will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a prize. In fact, no legit prize promoter will ever charge you to win.
  • If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up and report it to the FTC.
  • Never send money to collect a prize. It’s a scam.

And here’s another insider tip: Publisher's Clearing House doesn’t call ahead to say you’ve won.

Did you send money to a prize scammer, or know someone who has? Report the loss immediately to the company you paid through (Western Union, MoneyGram, the prepaid or gift card company). And then tell the FTC. And, if you wired money to a scammer via Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you might be eligible for a refund. Learn more.

Check out Publishers Clearing House’s fraud protection page, and learn more from the FTC about prize scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Well that is good that the federal trade commission is making sure that the people who are in the top 3 VIP royal members of publisher clearance house give the three people including my self that been a member with publishers clearance house does Give the top 3 three people that is in the winning circle for the 10 million dollars sweepstakes with publisher clearance house to the people who has been playing since 1998 when I joined publisher clearnce house the sweepstakesame for the 10 million dollar winner I been in the game over 15 years now I should have already won the 10 million dollars sweepstakes from publisher clearance house my winnings to Me that would be nice for theme to show up at my door with the news camera team to surprised you when you answer your front door

Last month i was playing publishers clearing house games and it popped up on the screen congratulations you won 10000 for customer appreciation day then i got a email stating that it was a mistakes just two weeks ago i was playing publishers clearing house play and spin and won 1000 visa gift card after a purchased a trial of iconic which i received but havent received my pch gift card it hasn't been two weeks yet but if i don't receive it i am going to start to fill like there is some kinda of scam who likes to get excited about winning and then be told it was a mistake i don't

Thanks for the information. We knew it was a scam, so here is the phone number...originating in Jamaica 876-887-6886.....this scam is register at Walmart for 1500.00 to win 2.5 million.

I have been receiving RESTRICTED calls on my work cell phone since 9/27/2017. I picked up the first by accident. Couldn't get the guy to stop bugging me. He had a thick accent and said I had won a large sum of money (couldn't understand exactly how much). He needed to fax me some papers to sign to decline the prize. I said I didn't have a fax machine. I asked him the name of his company and he said something like “American Global Awards”. (I lost the paper it was written on … that name is incorrect because it doesn’t come up on the computer now.) I looked up the name later and it was associated with some scams. He said I would have to go to Home Depot or one of those places where he could fax me. I said certainly not. I asked where he was from and he said something like American Global Awards. I looked up I finally gave him my work email (he doesn't have my name or personal info) to send the papers. I didn't get anything until 10/2. I got an email from "Maryjblidge" (sent from email address Bonniejones509 ) saying in the subject line "Re: From mr. David Johnson. call me at my number( 701)2892396". No message. A couple hours later I received another email from John Carter (from email address Maryjblidge523 ) with a subject line “From Mr. Gereld Johnson. call me at my number( 701)2892396”. About 15 minutes after that I received two restricted phone calls that I did not answer and one from 876-451-9645 (Jamaica) that I answered by mistake as I was driving and used hand controls to answer. It was the same guy as on 9/27. He wanted to know if I had gotten his email. I said no and told him I couldn’t talk because I was driving and hung up. Yesterday and today I have received two restricted calls around 5 pm. I’m not answering.

Yes the called me today told me I needed a 495$ receipt

I had the exact same phone call originating from Jamaica. Number was different. 876-370-6886. Hope this helps someone.

Calls from ALL 876-xxx-xxxx phone Numbers ARE SCAMMERS!! I’ve just finished compiling a list of over 198 of these numbers; 176 Stateside Numbers with different area codes where they’ve scammed people into sending them phones and at least 157 “FAKE” Names used that are associated with these numbers and them. They hacked the Social Security Office over 9 years ago and have info on our Seniors and those on Pensions.

All callers state they are from PCH but are NOT. Myself, Ms. Wilma C-TN; Mr. Frank L-PA; have ALL been SCAMMED out of over $50,000.00+ from these folks and I’m sure there are many, many others. They DON’T CARE if you have food to eat or money to pay your bills or even gas in your car.
They want you to buy and to mail them NEW Iphones (US phone #’s); Open bank accounts and send them the debit cards; Mortgage your homes; Sell your Life Insurance to pay the taxes and Pawn your vehicle or other items of value to pay the “FEE” they want. They even WANT you to PAY FOR TIME ON THEIR 876 PHONES SO THEY CAN KEEP SCAMMING PEOPLE!

They change their names with the call and fees – I’ve been told that they are, “LIVING ON $45.000.00 -$135,000.00 A MONTH, HAVE MANSIONS, MAIDS; GARDNERS AND DRIVE COMPANY CARS BUT FIND IT HARD TO LIVE ON SUCH A SMALL AMOUNT.”

As previously stated, my complaint is that the odds of winning are nil! Last time I counted, odds were 1 in 250,000,000 (that's Billion)
Now, I see from television ads that the "grand prize" has been limited to $15,000. Same old, same old!
Bottom line is that, if someone doesn't order something, their "entry" isn't entered.
This was proven back in the "70's when garbage trucks full of non-purchases were observed on T.V. being unloaded at a landfill!

Rod you forgot the other 3 zeros to make 250 billion (250,000,000,000).

I never send money unless I know for sure who i'm sending it to.

I think the whole PCH thing is a scam to get people to subscribe to magazines. Other than their TV ads, has anyone ever seen an actual winner? Wouldn't it be newsworthy if someone won $15 million, or $10,000 a week for life? Never seen it.

I have never seen it never.!

I been playing for over 50 years. Never get any thing but entry - order forms.

They want you to subscribe. I did and received a bill from the magazine publisher even after I paid PCH. I also only got 3 issues and complained to PCH.

The Publishers Clearing House team has been to our small eastern NC town several years ago. Because, everyone is familiar with other, the entire community was thrilled. It was great to see a winner in our area and PCH received a welcome like the President was town.

I get mail from "some publisher's clearing house" saying I am eligible for a prize and to put sticker's everywhere on entry forms and return. Also has a small catalogue with merchandise for me to buy assuring me it is all guaranteed with a money back guarantee. I have returned the entry form; but never bought this stuff. Then comes a packet and a form for me to "validate" my entry or something and another catalogue. I do same as above. Then another packet with a form to "certify my validation" or something and another catalogue and pleading letter why have not I tried their merchadise- after all it is all certified. I send form back. Then another packet with a form the "re-certify my validation" or something like that and another catalogue. All of these assure me that I don't have to buy anything to win and include bonus stockers for side prizes. And so on-
Is this a scam????!!!

I get the same mail. As a matter of fact I got mail today from them saying I can win $1,000 a day for life. The drawing is to be held October 13, 2017. Prior to this the drawing was supposed to have been held back in June, then August now October. June and August were final months for entering. Now I get this one. I ordered merchandise once and received it but now PCH wants me to order more. I don't feel I should have to continue to order if this is legit. Is this a scam?

  This blog post has a link to the Publishers Clearing House’s fraud protection page. The page says you don't have to buy anything or pay a fee to enter or to win. That page has a phone number so you can call and ask about the mail you're getting.

I am in the same boat as you and after more than 20-years with PCH, I am stopping the game. Too many stamps and lost time on the computer. I ordered a talking bird that is defective but refused to return it as it's not worth the cost and time.

Yes I have received a call like that...i hung up as soon as they asked for money.

I play all the time...now I'm Leary.

Yes,we know all about this scam. We were hounded with HUNDREDS of phone calls and even fake letterhead with the PCH name and fake documents. We had to change our home phone number. Many of the calls came in from Jamaica. This took place in early 2016.

I'm receiving calls day and night telling me I won 7.5 million dollars and a car. Just go to Walmart pay 250.00 to Jamaica Jamaica for a certificate of approval to deliver my winning.They say there from PCH and now my dad who is elderly is getting calls telling him to do the same thing and he almost did it! They told him they were from readers digest. I know it's a scam told them they are scammers and ill report them now there burning my phone's cells and house . And now i'm afraid dad gave them our address cause they sent me a copy of my address on my phone telling me to go pay 250.00 cause they want to deliver my packages and they won't stop .its going on 3 weeks! day and night from 715 area code 614 area code 385 area code 323 area code 204 area code 979 area code 334 area code 719, 217, 281, 510, 805, 402, 773, 536, 469, 500, 424, 520, 408, 641, just on my cell!

Same thing here but they only wanted $75.00 but was willing to stay on the line and all till the prize courier arrived and all. SCAM!!!

This happen to my cousin, and they keep calling her, even after she told them it was a scam, and kept saying no, you really one. Its sad to think how nasty people really are to take advantage of us. Thank You.

Best way to avoid being scammed is to NOT answer the phone. If you don't know who it is, just don't answer. If it's a legitimate call, they will leave a message. If you answer, they know it's a good number and they'll keep calling.

It's always a surprise if it's the real thing. But I got an email telling me (with all the PCH credentials), that " They will call me the day before to let me know ahead of time if I won....because they had some bad experiences showing up unannounced." They listed a Motel where they will stay and the main TV station (which I knew to be fake).
It all seemed very real...but they had the wrong local TC station listed! Be careful!

I hang up also when I get these calls and I delete them from my e-mails as soon as I see them. PCH is not only magazines. They really do have some nice items.

What is the worst is they prey on the elderly most. My mother receives these calls all the time. It is heart wrenching to see her hopes get up just to take them down.

My grandmother lost 300$ today and was on the phone with these people for 4 hours straight

I quit entering Publisher Clearing House Sweepstakes years ago... Ripped me off of enough money and I now do not enter ANY and ALL SWEESTAKES CONTESTS....Their ALL Money Grubbers .....

You were smart to stop because they sell your address to other organizations. I'm bombarded w/ solicitations

How may I find out if a company is legit or on the up & up through your company.

One way is to do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” See what other people have to say.

I also believe it's pure madness that anyone can win out of 250 BILLION people. And the dab of people that have showed up saying they won is just that, a dab. I feel very, very few people win any amount of money through the PCH sweepstakes. Most people win money by playing the lottery.....

I've considered getting one of those party airhorns and using it when someone real gets on the phone.

I entered the PCH sweepstakes for the first time this year. Didn't win but I seem to be getting lots of email SPAM. I wonder if they sold my email address to other companies.

All Sweepstakes should be banned as they never pay off and the odds are so stacked that it is a waste of time to enter. Don't waste your time!

I got a call with a VERY strong accent saying I'd won. I said to the person that if I HAD won, I'd be greeted at the door in person and the presenter would NOT have an unintelligible accent. I did reverse number look-up and it was from Jamaica.

All the calls i get are frompjamica 876 exchange. They ask for 600 dollars to cover taxes. I hang up. I have reported to ftc they use so many numbers

It's not just phone calls - attached is recent unsolicited spam e-mail from a sender that is generating 2 e-mails per day (using 4 different ISPs). Curiosity: what unsolicited spam e-mails does spam@uce.gov actually address? -----Original Message----- From: PCH Sweepstakes [  PCH Sweepstakes@ colordem. com] Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:18 PM To: xxxxxx @ xxx. com Subject: $15,OOO,OOO Prize Of A LIFETIME From Publishers Clearing House! A Huge Prize is at Stake! Please add us to your Contacts

The FTC and law enforcement partners use the emails that go into the spam@uce database to generate cases against people who use spam to spread false or misleading information about products or services.

The database has served as the basis for FTC cases involving pyramid schemes, money-making chain letters, credit card scams, credit repair scams, bogus weight-loss plans, fraudulent business opportunities, and other scams that were promoted via email.

I got one that claimed they were from the FTC and I won and had me call someone at allegedly NAUPA. It was pretty slick and would have cost me $1500, if I did not ask my tax lady for advice.

I received this same thing last week, here in N.M.
Said my husband had won $750,000 in 2015 and failed to claim it so it would be "distributed" if not claimed by calling Naupa. Two phone #s (717)839 2341 and (717) 7988985 The woman calling said her name was Katherine Riley, her # 202 360 4067. She keeps calling but I don't answer.

I just got several calls today saying I won a prize and had to pay 1℅ of the taxes in order to be presented with a check from PCH and a new car. The call came in as unknown. They told me to go get a money gram and send it to an address in Ohio. I looked up the address and it was a property for sale and they wanted me to stay on the phone the whole time. I honestly nearly fell for it. No money out of my pocket, but I called PCH and informed them of the scam including the 2 names and Ohio address. Bunch of bull!

we have been receiving calls saying there publishers clearing house to go to Walmart and send a wire transfer for $185.00 dollars and he says his name is James Reed or John Gilmore and the phone numbers being used are as follows 810-580-5020 or 347-5041-8119 . So watch out for these useless scammers.

I received an email that said I made an order that I had not made. A few weeks later I received an order in the mail. Then I started getting email that I needed to pay my bill. This is something that I had not made. Watch out for this scam also.

If you receive merchandise that you didn’t order, you have a legal right to keep it as a free gift. This FTC article about unordered merchandise has tips about what to do.

Pch is a total scam.They are in partnership with telemarketers,I have been a member for over 3 yrs.totaling over 14,000,000 points.Twice I have beat them at there sweepstakes games and have been cheated.I quit. Thx. For nothing publishers clearing house.SHAME ON YOU.

Oh WOW,FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SAY IT'S A GOOD THING THAT PEOPLE DO SHARE THERE EXPERIENCES BECAUSE I RECIEVED THE PCH IN MY NAME & MY HUSBAND WOULD ORDER AND FILL OUT THE REQUIRED THING'S THEY'VE ASK FOR PEOPLE TO DO...THEN ALL THE THING'S HE ORDERED WAS USELESS DIDN'T WORK OR A PIECE OF JUNK EXAMPLE: THE SCRATCH AWAY (SUSPOSED TO REMOVE SCRATCHES)IT DID NOTHING & I USED IT SEVERAL TIMES JUST TO MAKE SURE.AND ORDERED A CHEAPLY MADE SUPPOSED TO BE A HANDHELD(I THINK IT'S CALLED A SIDERING or WELD TO PUT THINGS BACK TOGETHER) SO I KNOW IT'S BS NEVER WAS PUT INTO SWEEPSTAKE OR WASN'T GOING TO WIN THE BIG ONE....****BUT THE LAST ONE I RECIEVED LIKE A MONTH AGO LOL,BY TIME IT WAS ALL SAID AND DONE WITH IN 7 DAYS RECIEVED SEVERAL LETTER'S STATING THAT I WAS GOING TO RECIEVE A ENVOLOPE IT'S IMPORTANT & TIME SENSITIVE TO DO AS INSTRUCTED & SO I CAN WIN BUT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE HAS SAID IT'S A SCAM & IT REALLY IS IT'S TO GET U YO ORDER THE STUFF IN CATALOG, AND I HAVE ONE MORE I'M GOING TO TRY TO PUT BELOW U MAY WANT TO READ BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE WAS ACTING AS GOVERNMENT WINNINGS

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