Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes

publishers clearing house sweepstakes

Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scam: How It Works

The Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scam is back. If you have received a PCH phone call, email, or letter you are not one of the winners. This is nothing but a scam that has fooled many innocent people. It is the most common type of fraud going around telling people that they have won a large sum of money at the lottery.

You could have also won other prizes such as tropical holidays or electronic equipment like smartphones. But here’s the catch for the Publishers Clearing House Scam. You will be required to pay a fee before you even receive your prize money or gift. These scammers will tell you that these fees are insurance costs, bank fees, or taxes. Crooks make money by collecting these fees while you never see your winnings.


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Watch the video below to see the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scam exposed:

You cannot win the lottery without participating in it, and no one else will put your name into a draw like that. One red flag is that the letters that scammers send to people are never addressed to them with their real names. Instead, it is always, “Dear Winner.”

PCH Sweepstakes Scam Requires Your Quick Response

The PCH sweepstakes email, letter, or text message you receive will tell you to respond quickly, or else you will miss out on your winnings. It also tells you to keep your winnings confidential or private so that “security” is maintained and other people don’t cash out on your winnings.

The truth is that this is done to stop you from seeking information from other sources. The authentic Publishers Clearing House Company will never state any such information to anyone. If you feel that people are trying to tell you to keep such secrets, there is more to it.

publishers clearing house scam

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They may tell you to provide your bank details and some identity verification to make sure that you are the actual winner. Scammers will use these details to steal your identity and all the money that you have in your bank account.

Some tricksters even send a part of the winnings like a few thousand dollars to trick you into believing that it is a legitimate offer. But when you try to get it, this will bounce back, and you won’t get any payment.

Moreover, they will collect your personal data so they can do identity theft (here is how to delete your private data from the Internet).

Examples of Publishers Clearing House Scam

An example of the Publishers Clearing House scam was reported by a victim as follows:

“I got a letter from the Publishers Clearing House saying that I am eligible for a prize. They asked me to put stickers everywhere on entry forms and return them. Also, it had a small catalog with merchandise for me to buy, assuring me it is all guaranteed with a money-back commitment. I have returned the entry form but never bought this stuff.”

“Then, I got a package and a new form for me to validate my entry. I did the same thing as above. Then another package came with a form to certify my validation and another catalog. I sent the form back again. Then another package with a form to re-certify my validation, plus another catalog! These assured me that I don’t have to buy anything to win and include bonus stockers for side prizes. And so on…”

PCH Scam on Social Media

Another recent version of PCH scams is when a criminal gets access to your social media account and contacts your extended family members, telling them that they have won all the money.

They use trust between family members to scam people out of their money. The victim is abused, and it may cause disputes between family members as well.

How To Avoid The Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams

The Publishers Clearing House Company is legit, but many scammers use this name. They copy the real organization’s exact style and format to make it seem like the PCH letter, email, or call is authentic. How can you tell the difference between the legit Publishers Clearing House and the fraudulent one?

Scammers are very good at making people believe that they are legit. Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind when trying to spot the difference between the fake and the real PCH sweepstakes.

publishers clearing house winners

Beware of Fake Lists of PCH Winners

Publishers Clearing House does not email or call with a list of PCH winners. If you receive a Publishers Clearing House phone call, email, or letter in your mailbox saying that you have won a prize, you can be sure that it is a scam.

The Publishers Clearing House website states, “All PCH prices of $500 or greater are awarded by either certified or express letter or in person by our famous Prize Patrol at our option.”

Publishers Clearing House Winners Don’t Pay Fees

The legitimate Publishers Clearing House will never ask you to pay anything. If you win a sweepstakes prize from Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or any other similar legitimate company, you will never need to pay. Scammers take money from you in exchange for a reward that they promise, but it will never be sent.

Do not give sensitive information. When you enter into a contest like the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, they will never ask you to submit information like your bank account number, license number, or address. Even though you may need to fill out an affidavit to verify eligibility if you win, you will not have to give any information when you enter.

If you are asked to enter any personal information, you can be sure that it is a scam.

Avoid The PCH Check

Getting a check doesn’t mean that you have won. Some scammers make it seem like you are not really paying any price. They send a check over to you and ask you to send a small amount back to them due to an error. These checks are not legitimate and just a part of the fraud. So don’t fall for the Check in the Mail scam.

Research before responding. If you want to verify your prize, there are specific steps that you should take. They never include having to pay money or give out personal information to receive a prize. You can also do a Google search of similar cases and look for notifications that other people have reported to consumer organizations. Always do your research before you respond to such PCH sweepstakes letters, emails, or texts.

PCH sweepstakes

Verify your win. If you are confused about whether your win is legitimate, contact Publishers Clearing House directly to ask them if they can verify your prize. Do not call any telephone number or contact any email address that is included within your notice. This will lead you directly to the hands of the scammers.

Publishers Clearing House Scam on Facebook

Facebook is an excellent place for sweepstakes fans, but there are plenty of scams that can take place here. A common one is the Publishers Clearing House page scam that is created to trick victims.

This is how this game works on Facebook: Scammers create a Facebook page that will look like the real Publishers Clearing House page. It may even be a fake personal page of one of the real employees of Publishers Clearing House. They then steal logos and photos of the Prize Patrol members, the PCH color scheme, and other information in order to make their page look real.

When PCH fans start following the Facebook page, the scammers will message them and tell them that they have won a prize. They then ask for money before they can claim their winnings. Many victims have handed over cash but obviously never seen a prize.

In order to keep yourself away from the public Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes scam on Facebook, you should learn how to avoid and recognize fake Facebook pages. Always remember that PCH will never notify a winner via a Facebook message. Always look for the blue verification badge on any PCH official page. This means that Facebook verified it.

What To Do If You Have Been Scammed

If you have already sent your money to a Publishers Clearing House scammer, you should contact your local police station. Also, you can use the form below. You should also be much more careful in the future because scammers who have already fooled you once will only try and trick you again.

You can also contact the Publisher Clearing House directly to report a scam. If you are a victim of fraud or almost got scammed, you should spread awareness about it so that other people know about it and will take precautionary steps to prevent this from happening in the future.

How To Report a PCH Scam

Let your family and social media friends know about the PCH Sweepstakes Scam by sharing this article online. You can officially report scammers and suspicious activities to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Publishers Clearing House (PCH) using these links:

Report To The FTC Here

Report to PCH Here

How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to receive the newest scams every week, subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter. Then, you’ll receive periodic messages and emails.

Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other lottery fraud-related articles below, so that you know how to stay safe online. Feel free to use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

Lottery Donation Scam

Google Lottery Scam


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Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

29 thoughts on “Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes”

  1. brenda l schwirtz

    march 7 2024 received call from 620-731-9705 saying I won pch,,,called several times when I was aked if I was ready to write info he wanted down..called himselh Donald Green..I said yes id you are from pch ..if a scammer no..he hung hung up..had a foreign accent,,,blocked it

  2. I just received a call from “Publisher Clearing House” telling me I have won $5 million and $5,000.00 monthly.
    The caller gave me much info to record along with a date they would come to award me the winnings. I was told they would pay 85% of the income tax however I would need to purchase a money order for $500.00 to give to them for my share of the income tax. I declined but he continued to try to convince me he was legitimate. Then he decided to give my award to charity. He called from 929-251-6891. I guess this should be added to your scam lists.

  3. On October 26, 2021, my husband got the call from Publishers Clearing House [PCH] that he had won $2,500,000.00, plus $5,000 a week for one year, & then there was that 2020 Mercedes Benz — any color he wanted. The caller claimed to be the Senior Vice President, Susan Williamson. I told him right away it was a SCAM & to hang up. He kept talking to her, & she convinced him that it was the real thing. She told him about $35,000 insurance fee in a cashiers check that she would fly to Washington state to pick up the next morning. Susan claimed she was packing her bags right then, in fact. He told her that we did not have that kind of money since he is on social security. Susan kept insisting that she would see him ‘in the morning’. She did have to have our bank account number & the routing number. He really did give it to her. There was less than $500.00 in the account, so where did he think the rest of the money was coming from? Long story short, you could almost hear the little bit of money we had was being sucked out of account. The scammers did get money out but it was recovered for the most part. We are STILL getting irritating phone calls — sometimes at 6 am! They sometimes call up to 10 times before they stop for the day [there’s a call log]. I finally had enough & last week I contacted comcast & had our phone number changed from the number we’ve had for almost 20 years. Most of the scammers calls come from Jamaica, followed by NY & FL. One of the worst parts of the PCH scam was when I asked Susan Williamson if the current spokesperson would be the one who delivered the Benz to us, & Susan had NO IDEA who Terry Bradshaw was! That should be evidence enough of a lousy SCAM!

  4. RE: $7,000.00 a week for life
    Today I received an “OFFICIAL NOTICE” by mail from PCH with their postage stamp “U.S. Postage Paid” and also a red stamp beneath my address, (to deliver on or about “10/18/22” written in ink). They need me to go to website and enter my activation code in the letter by deadline for the October 31st prize events. Letter was signed by Vice President, Susan Williamson

  5. David Daniel Smith

    I’ve got a phone call today from claiming as PCH representative and I was picked to win .10.5 Million Dollars and I was to contact PCH at one of the following phone numbers. Thye first phone number is 1-888-565-2570 and the second phone number is 1-702-995-2286. I had a hard time trying to understand the man who made the call as he gave me these phone numbers. The 1st Phone number was stated to be for Mr. Dave Sayer and the second number was for Mr. Todd Sloane, I know that the 702 number is a Nevada phone number, but the 888 number could be any where.

  6. David Patterson claims to be a rep from publishers clearing house Phone 817-701-4054 claim I won 1.9 million and $5000.00 a week for life since it’s a Holiday that was his reason for calling. Help please he keeps calling. Blocked him yet he used another number to call,

  7. Dennis G. Crosby

    My brother has a PCH account-02775461-433. Some one name Paul is using it.I can’t go to the sweepstakes because of this. Please fix it.

  8. I’ve got a phone call today from claiming as PCH but very lousy voice saying I won $6.5M and will be deliver to my house today. He also asked me if I am at home, office or driving right now. Of course, a little bit skeptical about how is that just simple to win such big chunk of money with no effort at all. Well story short, I just trick him saying that I am out right now but can be home later…but when I asked him if he is trying to scam me , he raised his voice and hang me up!!!..Nice try douche…you still need to practice more…LOL!

  9. Got a phone call from a friendly chap claiming to be an attorney with Cohen Zimmerman & Associates out of Portland, ME. They were inquiring if we had help in managing the $500,000 we had just won from Publishers Clearing House. So we started asking him questions, like where they were located, their address and was told he would transfer us to a “Senior Attorney” to answer all our questions. Then he wanted to deliver our check next Friday. So sure, we were willing to speak with the Sr Attorney. So he asked my husband and I to get on speaker phone to hear everything and then he hung up. When I called the number back (207-331-8902) it was a fax machine. Should I start spending the $500,000? LOL!

  10. Got a letter the other day that included a check for $8,693.63 from “Publicher’s Clearing House” Free Lotto Promotion, desk of the Vice President (International Promotions/Prize Award Dept. The check is drawn off of an account from Jonathan & Associates CHB Services, Inc. in Compton, CA. According to a Google search, this company’s link takes me here: https://panjiva.com/Jonathan-Associates-Chb-Services/37567616 which is nothing related to an sort of lottery. The bank it shows on the check is the Hanmi Bank. I am 99.99999% sure this is a scam.

  11. I received several calls from someone who claimed his name is Roger Alston at 775-766-9942. Funny, but he had the exact accent as a gentleman who did a video on these scams. However, I never went into detail like he did. These calls went on for about a week (I ignored them) and blocked them. Finally, out of disgust I answered and was told that I had won $2.5 million and a Mercedes Benz. Immediately, alarm bells went on in my head. Because of the thick accent I asked him where he was from (thinking Nigeria) and he said New Jersey. Being from New Jersey myself I asked him what town – NOTHING. As soon as he said the call was 100 legitimate and told me that the IRS would be paying 95% of the taxes and I needed to pay 5%, I invited him to give my PRIZE to the next person as I was not interested and that I would be reporting them. All of a sudden he admitted the prize was not real and asked to be my FRIEND. CLICK, I hung up. People please be very careful!

  12. I am receiving phone calls that I don’t answer (not a number on my contact list). Last time they left automated message informing me that I won the sweepstake price from Publisher Clearing House and I should phone back at the number 877-725-3991 to claim my prize. They also gave me claim code. They said that that is a certified prize that is approved by Trade Commission and that prize patrol has been suspended due to COVID-19. Is it a scam? It is a toll free telephone number, but I am afraid to check if the number is legit. I received already so many scamming calls that I suspect another scam.

  13. I’ve gotten notified a hundred times that I’ve Won “Millions”; even the “PC H Lifetime Payments”; but alas, they don’t know where I am, or my last message to the real PC H Headquarters!.! And letters, “I’ve Won “(fill in the number)” $$$$. All scammers!? I know the real team pride themselves to surprise you at your door!.! So, I’ll wait till Dave, Howie, or Daniel knock on.my door with balloons, and flowers!.! Good luck, PC H customers, and players!.!

  14. I was contacted by phone that I was a PCH winner of 2.5 million, plus 45k in cash and a Mercedes. They asked if I had a vanilla gift card and I was what is that? Got a manager on the phone and he said they were having technical difficulties. He never called me bank and only has the name of my bank. No account number. They know my address and my dogs name. Nor the name of my partner. Should I worry?

    1. i just won 2.5 mill. too ! vanilla card with $200.00 on it . but they wanted all the numbers on back, i blocked the lat 4 numb. then wanted pictures on front and back. i sent them the pictures with the last 4 blocked, i had a fake card so i just played the game. there in my state now 4-15-22 . i told them to stop by with the $100,000.00 and they can have tthe last 4 numb.s. its been a week now, so lets plat on.

  15. I received a call telling me that I won 2.5 million and a Chevy Tahoo , all I had to do was go to the Dollar General and get a Vanilla Gift Card for $150.00 and give it to them tomorrow, between 9-10 am.

  16. WE HAVE BEEN SCAMMED BY A PERSON NAMED JOEL JOHNSON WHO SAID HE WORKED FOR PUBLISHER CLEARING HOUSE AND WE HAD WON $7,500,000.00 AND $5,500.00 A WEEK FOR LIFE AND A 2020 MERCEDES BENZ. WE WERE NOT TO TELL ANYONE UNTIL WE HAD PAID THE MONEY TO INSURE BEFORE WE WOULD GET IT. WE PAID A TOTAL OF $ 47,400.00 AND HE WAS ASKING FOR $90,000.00 WHICH WE DID NOT HAVE. THATS WHEN WE FOUND OUT WE ARE SCAMMED.

    1. The name of the Kingston, Jamaica call was Todd Solane and the call from the manager is from NY name is Michael Anderson. Gave me a package code number. Never heard back from Mr. Anderson. Maybe he knew I was very skeptical.

    2. Mary Pfeiffer

      I just had the same thing happen a hour ago. His name was James Carter who supposedly worked for PCH & I had won $1,550,000 with a brand new white Mercedes Benz. They were going to come to my house (don’t know if they even knew the address, they never confirmed it) but would present me with a certified check of which they would even take me to my bank so I could deposit it & then pay the 1% of taxes they say that I had to pay. I would also have to show my drivers license.
      As soon as they called & I started talking to them I had a feeling it was a scam. I even told them that I was going to call PCH directly to confirm the conversation & he came up with a line that PCH will not confirm the winner’s number as it could be someone else calling instead of me & said to call the number he gave me. LOL Like I would call a number that some random person gives me. LOL I have had these calls before but with other things & never call their number but the actual place. nor send them money. My mother taught me if it sounds to good to be true, chances are they are trying to scam you.
      I did call PCH directly & put in a scam alert to them as they say they will never call you if you win nor email, text or send a letter as they want it to be a surprise to the winner nor will they ask for any money. Hopefully you have alerted PCH or your local police & can get your money back some how.

    3. A Dave Sayer is claiming he is with PCH and the $1,500,00.00 grant is ready to be delivered after I send $35,000. A Danielle Lam claiming to be a PCH employee is asking for me to send the money and then they would deliver the Grant.
      My question is are these two people PCH employee’s and why would they be asking for money when the PCH doesn.t ask for money?

  17. Margaret Ann Dobbs

    David from PCH at (646)-817-6889 Called to say I am the winner. Email: [email protected]. Even sent a fancy PCH Winner certificate which I saved for you. No. I did not give any bank account or credit card info to him. He made an appointment to come to my home to award PCH Check to me on January 18, 2021 at 1:00 PM.

  18. Lois von Chrustscoff

    I was told by PCH that I had won $600 a week for life. So, I kept ordering and doing everything they asked me to as I thought it would make sure
    I was the winner. Then I got a letter saying I was one of their best customers and I had graduated to the PRESIDENTIAL Status!!!
    Then I got another letter saying I was such a good customer that they were upping my prize to $125,000.00 check and they had upped my lifetime
    check to $1,800 a week for the first year. Then I found something else I wanted to order and soon I got another letter saying I was the very BEST
    Customer they ever had and due to that they were Giving me a $2,000,000,00 Check and $10,000 a week for life!!!!! I got excited and believed them. So, here it is December 18th and I got up early and got prepared for them to be here at 9AM and now it is 11AM and one has come. I was told once that they come at 9AM. Of course they can come later but I believe I am waiting for nothing’1111

    1. I first got a call from Peter Warnock from PCH he gave me two different phone numbers 917-268-4042 & 888-252-9793 and said I had won $7 + million dollars etc.. He sent a letter with a package claim # and prize listing # and said I needed to give them $8,640.00. I didn’t respond as I felt it was a scam when I said I didn’t have that amount of money and he assured me I did. When I called one of the numbers he gave me the machine said it was a travel agency and that his brother left the message. The second call came from Mr. Miller that I won $2.5 million dollars. I have called a number which I thought was Mr. Sayers and have not received a call back from him. I am assuming that these contacts have been scammers and I haven’t given them any money. I only wish I could have been contacted by PCH after emailing them my concerns.

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