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.
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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.
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