Publishers Clearinghouse has long been famous for its big checks and big winnings, but it has recently come to our attention that scammers have been using the PCH name and logo to commit fraud.
Although PCH's sweepstakes are legitimate, you still need to be very cautious if you receive a prize notification from PCH or any other company claiming you are a big winner. We are advising all of our clients to shred and ignore notifications from PCH and to be wary of all prize notifications, especially ones that ask for money.
We have spoken to PCH and they have confirmed that these kinds of scams are rampant. Many of these fraudulent notifications include checks (like the one pictured below, which was received by a client of ours) that at first glance appear legitimate.
Please be advised that all sweepstakes sponsors are required to send affidavits before releasing prizes worth more than $600. So, if you have received a check worth more than $600 as a prize without an affidavit, you know right away that it's a fake check scam, and it can cause you financial and legal problems.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING PCH SCAMS:
- PCH will never call or email in advance to say you are going to be a winner.
- They will never tell you to be home at a certain time (they will drive all around town looking for you).
- They will never ask you to pay anything in advance to collect your prize.
- They will never send an advance check of a few thousand dollars to cover "taxes" or "fees."
- If you do choose to enter sweepstakes competitions like PCH be careful about disclosing personal information, PCH will never ask for your address, account numbers, social security, or any other confidential information when you enter.
- Take time to verify your prize win with the sweepstakes sponsor before you respond. Find the sponsor's contact information using a telephone directory, an internet search, or the sponsor's website. Make sure that you do not use the information included on the notification since the scammers could be using fake contact details. You can contact PCH directly here or check their blog for scam alerts.
- Go online and verify your notification with Check ConsumerFraudReporting.org to see if your notification has been listed as a scam
At Northstar, we take the financial security of our clients very seriously. Please remember we only accept verbal requests to transfer money to third parties. Emails and voicemails are not acceptable - for your protection, we need to speak with you directly.
If you receive anything you have questions about, please do not hesitate to contact us.