Your odds of winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are incredibly small. But the odds of getting scammed are 100 percent if you believe those phony congratulation letters, phone calls and emails that claim you need to pay money in order to get your winnings. Scammers are mailing letters requesting payment of $15,000 in taxes to claim millions from the national contest. No legitimate contest, sweepstakes or lottery, in fact, ever asks for an advance fee to claim winnings.
Here’s what you need to know about prize lies:
- The “partial” payment check. You get a check with congratulations and instructions to deposit that “partial payment” of supposed winnings into your bank account. You’re told to use that money to make a quick wire-transfer of a required advance payment of taxes or fees or whatever. What happens: The deposited check proves to be counterfeit — this could take weeks to discover — and you’re liable for all money drawn from that deposit in the meantime.
- The bogus claims agent. Congratulatory letters often ask you to contact a designated “claims agent.” Don’t. These smooth talkers claim to be third-party middlemen “managing” your prize award, but are actually professional con men. Once you pay the requested advance amount, they bombard you with other phone calls and letters claiming new, “unexpected” fees have arisen, until you get wise.
- Did you even enter? If you didn’t and are told you won, it’s a scam. There is no way you can win a legitimate sweepstakes, lottery or contest that you don’t enter.
- To Learn More contact PCH Sweepstakes Scams: 1-800-392-4190