Skip to Content

4 ways Publishers Clearing House scams contact victims!

4 ways Publishers Clearing House scams contact victims!

Have you seen those commercials with average people being surprised with by the Prize Patrol with crazy huge sweepstakes winnings?  Have you ever wondered if Publishers Clearing House scams are out there?  We’ll cover ways to avoid falling for Publishers Clearing House scams!

What is the Publishers Clearing House?

The reason so many Publishers Clearing House scams can be successful is because the Publishers Clearing House has run one of the most well-known sweepstakes programs ever.  This means that potential victims of Publishers Clearing House scams often recognize the name and assume the winning claims are legitimate!

The Publishers Clearing House is actually a marketing company that was founded in 1953 selling magazine subscriptions.  Their sweepstakes program gained fame in 1987 with the start of the Prize Patrol that advertised everyday Americans being surprised at their doorstep with balloons and a giant cardboard check in their name!  They have now awarded over $527 million in prizes!

The Publishers Clearing House is also known for their charitable giving – donating over $1 million to programs like the ASPCA, Saint Jude’s Research Hospital, and more!

What kind of prizes are offered by the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes?

The prizes offered by the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes range from $1 Amazon gift cards to $10 million.  They are also well known for their “Win $5,000 a Week for Life” prize advertisements.  They are widely advertised, which also makes for easier scam targets.

How do I spot Publishers Clearing House scams?

Many Publishers Clearing House scams start with a legitimate sounding phone call, email, or even a check in the mail!

The Publishers Clearing House only uses their Prize Patrol to notify major award winners.  They will never use phone calls or send a major prize check in the mail.

Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are free to enter, require no purchases, and require no payments or fees to receive prizes.

You know it is not a legitimate Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes if you are contacted by phone, instructed to send money to claim your prize, or asked for confidential information about your identification, banking or credit card.

How do the Publishers Clearing House scams work?

Usually scammers attempt to get funds by asking you to pay “fees” or by convincing you to cash a fake check that pulls money from your account.

Fees to claim

Most Publishers Clearing House scams work by convincing victims that they have won a large prize but must pay a fee to claim it.  These Publishers Clearing House scams operate by claiming there are legal fees, processing fees, handling fees, card loading fees, border fees, taxes, etc.  The Publishers Clearing House will never ask you to pay fees to claim your prize!

Some Publishers Clearing House scams are using telephone calls to inform of winnings and claiming they need your credit card number or bank account information in order to send your prize.

A more modern spin is Publishers Clearing House scams involving fake Facebook pages or social media accounts!  They use the same process of asking you to pay fees to claim your prize, except they send you messages via social media.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

Fake check

Some scammers will even send a fake check for you to cash and wire to them to them for “fees”.  They advertise that when they receive the fees portion, they will release your larger prize. 

The catch is that these Publishers Clearing House scams use counterfeit or stolen checks, but when you wire the “fees” to them (usually via Western Union or Money Gram), those come out of your account that you deposited the funds to.  Your bank will then typically discover the check is not valid and you may be charged penalties and possibly even face legal issues for a felony deposit of a fraudulent check.  Unfortunately, by then the scammers have their funds and are long gone.

Publishers Clearing House scams victim

How to avoid Publishers Clearing House scams

You should be on guard to begin with if you have not entered a sweepstakes.  You should also never use the contact information provided on the winning claim notification – as these phone numbers and emails often belong to people running the Publishers Clearing House scams.

We’ve covered a few ways that scammers might try to get money from you – we’ll also cover ways you can confirm if a winning notification is legitimate or not!  Publishers Clearing House scams won’t work if you know which ones are fake!

Phone calls

If you’ve received a phone call claiming that you’ve won any prize with the Publishers Clearing House; you know it’s fake.  The Publishers Clearing House does not notify winners via phone.  You can add your number to the national do-not-call registry and report if you receive unsolicited calls from numbers that are part of Publishers Clearing House scams.

Emails

Publishers Clearing House does occasionally use email to notify winners of smaller prizes.  They will never ask for confidential or banking information via email.  They will never request any kind of fee to claim the prize.  Often scam emails will come from a Hotmail or Yahoo account and contain typos and grammar errors.  These should be red flags for any kind of prize claim!

Social media

Legitimate winning notifications are also never sent via Facebook and any other social media platforms!  Pages that are part of Publishers Clearing House scams often look like the real deal: logos and colors and actual employee names are easy to duplicate.  For information from legitimate Publishers Clearing House social media profiles – ensure they have the verified symbol next to their name.

Fraudulent check

The IRS has a $600 threshold for reporting of winnings.  This means that the Publishers Clearing House will never send you a check for over $600 without having you sign an affidavit regarding your identity.  If you receive a check for over $600 in the mail without having received an affidavit, the check is very likely part of the Publishers Clearing House scams.

A simple way to confirm if a check is legitimate is to verify the information on it.  Often Publishers Clearing House scams use fraudulent checks with mismatched banking and routing information.  This causes it to be flagged and take longer to go through the system – giving them more time to get away with their scam.  If the routing number does not match the bank name, it’s a huge red flag!

How to contact the Publishers Clearing House directly

The Publishers Clearing House asks people to contact them directly if they wish to confirm any winnings.  They also ask people to contact them if they feel that they have been a potential victim of Publishers Clearing House scams.

You may contact them at 1-800-459-4724 Monday through Friday 8:30am – 11pm, and Saturday 8:30am – 5pm eastern (closed Sundays and holidays).  They are also available via live chat and email contact at their Publishers Clearing House website.

Please report any scams at their Publishers Clearing House scams site.

We have more resources for you in how to avoid common scams!

It seems like scammers are targeting in new ways every day!  We have links to help you avoid becoming a victim of a scam!

We’d also love to help you find ways to save money, access discounts, and get free stuff – our Low Income Relief Youtube channel has loads of resources for you!

After 27 years in law enforcement and state Veterans Affairs agencies, I found myself working from home and looking for dollar-stretching resources. Government programs can be notoriously difficult to navigate and I'm happy to lend my experiences to make this easier for others!

Anna Harris

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

I have won more prizes (fake) than I can count. It is so upsetting because my Dad entered all the time til he died and I have entered for over 25 years and nothing but false hope. The thing is I want the money to help others also. My husband and I have taken people in and helped them for 40 years and we could use the money too for repairs on our home that doing that takes on a home. These scammers should be caught and punished but no one is doing anything! So they keep doing it. I pray their eyes are opened to how much hurt they cause. God Bless and Good luck PCH family.

Rayford Faircloth

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Had call today from 631-953-2135 claiming to be PCH and etc. I have a recording of the voicemail.

Wayne

Friday 9th of September 2022

I received a text message from someone claiming to be Andrew Goldberg the message went like this exactly:

"Congratulation I'm Andrew Goldberg President and CEO Publisher's Clearing House sweepstake, well we just want to inform you have been fortuitously picked among our lucky winners those getting $270,000.00 PCH lottery of the year 2022. Here is ROBERT WILFRED text him via his active mail [email protected] text him your full name, home address, phone number and carrier to get your winnings"

Now I'm not usually someone that falls for these scams but I know Publisher's Clearing House is not going to be sending a text to me from (714) 920-4994 (mobile number from Orange County California) or (202) 270-1771 which I couldn't find any result's for this number other than it is from Washington D.C. So I promptly selected the Delete and Report Junk on my phone and got rid of the scammer's message. The funny thing is just last week my co-worker who sits behind me in the lab at work got several phone calls from "Publisher's Clearing House" telling him he won $7,000 a week for life and that they would be arriving at his house today! Well nobody ever arrived at his house and he surely did not get $7,000 a week for life. Be aware of these scams, especially if they ask you for personal information or ask for financial info where they can get access to your bank or credit card accounts! Also, be aware that nobody from PCH would be using a Gmail account for Official PCH Prize Award notifications.

Doris Mahala

Thursday 25th of August 2022

I have recived a letter in the mail and .net received a phone call stating that 8 needed to contact PCH by Phone and they gave a phone number and a reference number to.claim my prize! I will tell you we are in need of that kind Prime money but I hope I can be a little smarter than the scammers!

Catherine Marucci

Friday 26th of August 2022

You may contact the Publishers Clearing House directly at 1-800-459-4724 to confirm if it is a scam or not.

Virginia

Wednesday 24th of August 2022

Just received a call last night from "Danielle" informing me I $7,000/week for life, left a phone number and a claim number. I called the phone number. No answer. A person from that phone number did call me back, wanted my name and claim number and wanted to know why I was calling them. When I wouldn't tell the guy my name, he hung up. The number was from Las Vegas.

Doris Mahala

Thursday 25th of August 2022

@Virginia, I have just gotten the very phone call however I was not Whispersync to get all the numbers to.return their call. I am becoming.frustrated with these criminals and them.getting away with it!

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 24th of August 2022

It's probably a scam, but you can try contacting Publishers Clearing House directly (not at the number you were given) to confirm.