Have you ever dreamed of winning in the Publishers Clearing House (PCH) sweepstakes? Scammers know how desperate you might be to win the prize, and they are seeking ways to exploit you using the PCH sweepstakes as an excuse.
Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes are LEGITIMATE
PCH has been holding sweepstakes campaigns weekly for a long time. As PCH guarantees a lifetime payment of up to 1 million dollars, millions of entries flood each contest. Indeed, there are several news reports about lucky citizens winning the $1M sweepstakes, making people even more envious and crazy for the campaign. PCH also keeps updating stories on those lucky chosen few on their Facebook fan page. In summary, we are confident in saying that the PCH sweepstakes are totally LEGITIMATE.
Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes scams
Nonetheless, there are still scams relating to various PCH sweepstakes – scammers just couldn’t let go of a chance to benefit. We’ve seen reports that scammers impersonate PCH and contact victims via phone calls, emails, or texts messages, tricking them into thinking they’ve won the PCH sweepstakes. Scammers then prompt victims to follow their instruction to claim the prize. Below are some of the most common tactics scammers use.
#1 Advance Fee Scam
In most cases, what scammers want is your money. They ask you to pay first to get your reward. Sounds weird, right? Their excuses could be taxes or processing fees – no matter what, they promise you that you can get your prize after you pay thousands of dollars. Don’t fall for it!
#2 Fake Check
Scammer could also send you fake checks directly, falsely claiming that you’re the winner. These fake checks are usually overpriced – they exceed the amount of money they say you’ve won.
They will “considerately” tell you that the check covers the part you need to pay for taxes, paperwork fees, or whatever other expenses for you. Scammers then instruct you to send back part of the money and cash out the check after that.
Guess what? The check scammers send you is a bounced check; you won’t be able to cash it out! At this point, your money is already gone, ending up in scammers’ pockets. Ouch!
#3 Identity Theft
Besides money, scammers worship your personal information too. Over the phone, (posing as PCH workers) they might request your detailed information to “verify your identity”, including Social Security numbers, home addresses, or even bank account details etc.
Scammers can then use these credentials to commit other cybercrimes, for example, draining you bank account or carrying out identity theft. Don’t let them!
Tips to spot PCH scams
- Check the name list first. Contact Publisher Clearing House directly to confirm the legitimacy of your win.
- Never pay to earn a prize. Requests for up-front fees are always a major red flag! Remember, all the prizes are “free of charge to the winners” (PCH).
- Be smart with your personal information. PCH will NEVER ask for your bank account information.
- Don’t let them rush you into a decision. Legitimate winners won’t be pressured to act quickly!
- Double-check the sender’s email address. Although PCH only contacts winners of Prize Patrol in person, for prizes less than $10,000 PCH still might notify winners by mails or emails. That’s when you should take a closer look at the sender’s email address!
- NEVER use links or buttons from unknown sources. Use Trend Micro Check to detect scams with ease: Trend Micro Check is an all-in-one browser extension and mobile app for detecting scams, phishing attacks, malware, and dangerous links — and it’s FREE!
After you’ve pinned the Trend Micro Check extension, it will block dangerous sites automatically! (Available on Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge).
You can also download the Trend Micro Check mobile app for 24/7 automatic scam and spam detection and filtering. (Available for Android and iOS).
Check out this page for more information on Trend Micro Check.
As ever, if you’ve found this article an interesting and/or helpful read, please do SHARE it with friends and family to help keep the online community secure and protected. Wish you good luck on the sweepstakes!