It’s the season for Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and the scams that go along with the real deal are already apparent. Scams typically follow popular news stories in an effort to capitalize on the headlines. The scams that always trail the famous sweepstakes involve, phone calls, email or lookalike letters all claiming a big check awaits the recipient.
Sweepstakes scams have cheated consumers locally and nationwide out of millions of dollars in recent years.
The BBB office receives 3 -5 phone calls a day from people asking about sweepstakes notifications they’ve received via email, fax or regular mail or even a phone call. Often, the callers cannot believe they are being scammed. “Unfortunately, people are taken advantage of and their money simply taken by these scams,” said Janna Kiehl, BBB CEO.
If you have received notification of winning a prize:
· Remember that most all of these notifications are fraudulent.
· Never wire money - Wire transfers are like cash and cannot be recovered.
· You should never have to send money to receive any winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes. When you win, the money comes to you.
· Be suspect of winning something you never bought a ticket for or entered, especially if you have to pay for it.
· If you have questions about a sweepstakes offer, contact the BBB at www.bbb.org or by calling 806-379-6222.
· If you want to report a scam, click on Scam Source on the website.
Publishers Clearing House awards its prizes by a personal visit to the winners' homes and does not charge winners to collect their prize.
If you receive phone calls or emails from Publishers Clearing House indicating you have won a prize and need to send money or give up personal information ... don't do it! Contact Publishers Clearing House directly for information at 1-800-459-4724, Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST or visit their website at http://www.pch.com/.
If you have won a prize from Publishers Clearing House, you will be listed on their website under Publisher's Clearing House Winners Circle. If your name is not on that list, you did not win.
Federal law dictates that no money has to be paid in order to win a prize. Typically, other well known companies are never involved in these scams nor do they contact consumers regarding potential winnings.