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

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!

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.!

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????!!!

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.

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 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

ALSO ONE MORE THE OTHER I JUST DID I PUT MY USER NAME DIFFERENT I USED MBRADDS82 BUT CAN'T REMEMBER WHICH ONE IT IS BUT I ALSO HAD ONE THESE PEOPLE ACTCAS THEY WAS CALLING FROM WASHINGTON DC GOVERNMENT OFFICE COME TO FIND OUT THEY REALLY WASN'T LOCATED IN WASHINGTON DC THEY'RE ACROSS THE COUNTRY SOMEWHERE LOL LOL,SO THE TELL ME I'VE BEEN SELECTED TO RECIEVE A GRANT & DON'T HAVE TO PAY BACK(OH BY THE WAY THE ACENT THEY HAD WAS CHINESE OR SOMETHING,BUT ALOT OF THE WORDS THEY PRONOUNCED ENDED WITH "S" LIKE MONEY WAS, YOU WILL RECIEVE YOUR MONIES TODAY.... AND THEY CALLED ME, THEN EXPLAINED THE REASONS FOR EVERYTHING AND GAVE ME A CODE IN NUMBER FORM THEN ANOTHER PHONE NUMBER TO CALL THE " on " manager in the FINANCE DEPARTMENT,LOL .I'M NOT GOING TO LIE THEY HAD ME GOING AT FIRST BUT I THEN I WAS LIKE IT'S TO GOOD TO BE TRUE...SO WHEN I CALLED HER & SHE ASKED ME FOR THE CODE AND THEN SHE EXPLAIN DO NOT TELL ANYONE ABOUT THIS WHEN I DO IT,FOR ME TO GO PURCHASE A PREPAID CREDIT CARD & PUT A "REFUNDABLE"PAYMENT OF I THINK IT WAS 100.00$,SHE STRESSED DON'T TELL ANYONE, AND ESPECIALLY DON'T TELL THE PEOPLE THAT WORKED IN THE STORE WHAT I'M DOING.SO THEN AT THIS POINT I KNEW IT WAS A SCAM SO I STARTED TO PLAY ALONG TO SEE WHAT ELSE THEY WAS GOING O TELL ME OR HAVE ME DO,,,SO I MESSED AROUND ASK QUESTIONS LIKE WHO IS THIS FROM AGAIN,WHERE'S THE BUILDING OR PLACE LOCATED SHE AVOIDED THAT QUESTION AND CHANGED THE SUBJECT,SO THEN ONCE IVSAID TO HER WELL IF THIS IS FREE GOVERNMENT MONEY THEN WHY DO I NEED TO SEND THIS REFUNDABLE PAYMENT,SHE SAYS "TO GET IT PROCESSED"THEN I SAID WELL I DON'T THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEAL I HAVE A FEELING IF I SEND U THIS MONEY I'M NOT GETTING IT BACK,THAT YOUR GOING TO TAKE IT,,,SO THEN SHE STARTED GETTING LOUD,HOSTILE,ANGRY & I CAN HEAR THE FRUSTRATION IN HER VOICE BUT SHE'S STILL TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE REASON & PROCESS, (BECAUSE I ACT LIKE I WENT TO THE STORE WHILE ON THE PHONE & GOT MY MONEY & I'M GETTING READY TO WALK IN THE STORE TO DO THE TRANSACTION,,,) BUT MEANWHILE NEVER LEFT MY HOUSE LOL,SO I WAS LIKE WELL IF IT WAS A FREE GOVERNMENT GRANT,I WOULD NEVER HALF TO SEND A SUPPOSED TO BE A REFUNDABLE FEE & IT WOULD BE LOCATED IN WASHINGTON DC INSTEAD OF WEAR IT'S SHOWING,AND THEY DEFINITELY WOULDN'T START GETTING LOUD WITH ME LIKE U JUST DONE IF IT WAS REAL,AND WHY WOULD U THINK I WILL BE THAT DUM TO SEND U MONEY THAT U CLAIM TO BE REFUNDABLE IF THAT'S THE CASECWHY DO I NEED TO SEND IT IN THE FIRST PLACE,,,SO I KNOW THIS IS NOT RIGHT OR REAL AND TOLD HER THAT MONEY PEOPLE SEND THEM IS WHAT THERE TAKING & NOT GIVING BACK & SO I SAID IT'S SCAM & I'M REPORTING U & HUNG UP...I hope people can UNDERSTAND THIS message was in a rush & hurry but wanted it to be known thank you have a BLESS & WONDERFUL EVENING L

Most companies that run contests such as PCH usually don't alert winners in advance. What they do is just show up at your place in person and surprise you. Even if some companies do say that they do alert winners in advance, which is possible for some, they will never tell you to send them anything especially if it involves a social security or credit card number, plus they should already know your name, age, address, and phone number by the form you already filled out. In other words, they should know who you are without having to ask for anything. More importantly, you can never win a contest or sweepstakes that you never entered in the first place, so if it looks just too good to be true, it most likely is.

NAME:FAKOYA PAUL STATE:OGUN COUNTRY:NIGERIA ZIP CODE:23401 SECURITY TEXT:NAME

I got scammed out of $600. I almost went to hospital for anxiety attacks. Was told from a hacked friend to call 8176778951, Agent Leroy Johnson. Sent pictures of a man with FBI logo in background

My husband received this Publishers call, won a Mercedes and a million dollars just $700.00 cash for taxes told the, guy I will have the $700.00 when you deliver the car and million. Man said we can,t do business. click smart hubby

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