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Who wouldn’t love to be that winner you see on TV holding a great big sweepstakes check? That’s what con artists are counting on when they claim to be Publishers Clearing House. This trick is an oldie but goodie for scammers.

The scam starts with a call or letter saying you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. But to collect your prize, they say, you need to send money to pay for fees and taxes. Typically you’ll be asked to send money by Western Union or MoneyGram, or by getting a reloadable card or gift card. Scammers ask you to pay these ways because it’s nearly impossible to trace the money — and you’ll almost never get it back.

But that’s not the only way scammers get your money with this scam. Some will send you a realistic-looking fake check in the mail. You’re told that, to claim your prize, you need to deposit the check and send some of the money back for made-up expenses. But when the check you deposit bounces — even after it seemed to clear — you may be on the hook for the money you sent.

If you think you’ve won a prize, here are a few things to know:

  • Never send money to collect a prize, sweepstakes check, or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
  • Never deposit a check and send back money, even if the funds appear in your account. That’s a sure sign of a scam.
  • If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up and report it to the FTC at

Want to know more? Read our article on Prize Scams. And, if you wired money to a prize scammer via Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you might be eligible for a refund.

Still think it’s real? The real Publishers Clearing House says it will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a prize. Check out Publishers Clearing House’s fraud protection page.

Note: The title was updated on April 25, 2018 to make clear that this blog post addresses scammers impersonating Publishers Clearing House.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

February 24, 2019
Yes I wish to be a part of price today but the PCH prize Patrol will make a stop in New Jersey to my house would be a dream come true for me and my family For the 5000 a week "Forever"
February 25, 2019
I have searched and searched and searched for three years and still was told I needed one more to complete my entry. When the date came for the prize to be issued. LO and be hold...the number drawn had not completed all the searches. The prize will be awarded next month. This is the answer I received each time I requested the name of the winner. I have since blocked them on my email and each mailing I get I out.."return to sender" on the envelope. Let them get the mail back they send to me...
March 02, 2019
I was contacted today, March 2, 2019 by a man named David Franklin with a heavy accent, a claim representative from Publishers Clearing House He told me that I was a PCH winner of 2.5 million dollars and $5000 dollars a week for life. He said that he would meet me here at my house on March 8, 2018 between 9am and 2pm. The number he called me from was (516) 268-4936. He also claimed that the people that would be with him to deliver the prize were Elizabeth Walker, Mary Clark and Dave Sawyer. He also claimed that he would accompany me to my local bank to verify the check was legitimate so there would be no questions asked for the check's validity. Please be aware of these scams.
June 05, 2019

In reply to by Lucy

Sounds just like mine from yesterday, 6/4/2019. Only the names were different and titles were given for who would be coming to my house and bank on 6/5/2019! Called me back this AM to confirm I had gotten the required postal M.O. for 1% of the supposed winnings. He said he represented Publishers CLEARANCE House as a second chance winner notification. Still waiting, and NOT expecting a visit.
pissed momma
March 12, 2019
I too got a call from Jamaica saying all the same stuff Im readying needed a amazon gift card to transfer the 1% will be rolling up at my house to make sure I have proper attire on and I won 1.5 million and a Mercedes Benzs to stay on the phone with them til I got the card. I looked it up really quick and seen it as a scam and said I see this as a typical scam so he hung up! But he did tell me if I didn't want the $ he would donate it to local organization I would be on the local news lol!
carmelita 3 18 2019
March 18, 2019
add another # to your pch phone scammers 876 818 9219 name dave sayer i actually called him to tell him what i thought of scammers & stupid answered the phone
March 20, 2019
Yesterday I received 4 calls from an unknown number. They called four times one right after the other, so I, thinking it was an emergency finally answered it. The man on the other end stated he was George Benson from publishers clearing House. I had won $5.5 million and a pearl white Mercedes Benz. The only catch was, I needed to pay 1% tax on this money which equaled $799. I was to have this money put on a prepaid card ready to give the “team” when they arrive with my check this morning. When I told him I had no available funds for this, he wanted me to get a loan from the bank! I knew he wasn’t legitimate by his grammar; “you don’t got any way to get this money”? He is supposed to call me this morning and send copies of the check. When I asked him where he was calling from he stated he was at the Jamaican/Las Vegas location! He was very convincing , BEWARE!!!!
March 27, 2019
I received two messages one after another from richard blackburn9 and jasmine taylor and now saying they chose me out of computer ballot for large sum of money and a car and wanted my info and that i needed to pay 200 as they covered 800 of the amount..i told them try another sucka suckeeeeers!
April 01, 2019
Scam call claiming to be Publishers Clearing House. So stupid they left a message. Tel# was 1-876-4319300. Really tired of all the scam calls. This guy could just barley speak English
April 09, 2019
They tried to get a member of my family today, who has filled out their forms for contests. Second phone number was 1-516-400-6303. I hate these people. He said that he was skeptical, but he sounded so excited when he called me. I know it's hurt him more than he let on. At least he didn't give them any money.
April 11, 2019
They called me from 876-406-0894
April 26, 2019
I received a call from a Michael Collins saying he is from PCH, I need to pay taxes, etc. He is very convincing, manages to call day of big pch announcement of winner. Just got one the other day again from him from phone number Jim Kingston 876-436-3998 and the one from micheal Kingston, coming through caller I’d as pch 800-542-9453.
June 11, 2019

In reply to by collegefun

Getting calls from Debbie Collins said she is from PCH. Say I have to pay taxes to release prize. Every week she calls and husband picks up. I tell him do not send money because there isn't any prize. It is a scam . We also get the Jamaica phone scammers calling from 876 Kingston Jamaica. More has to be done about these be scammers. Blocking numbers do not work anymore.
April 27, 2019
This just happened to me yesterday they hacked one of my friends on facebook and started messaging me about a program and grant money from pch she gave me a cell phone number to text that would provide more info the guy stated his name was Dave Sayer and that I had won money but to receive this money I would have to pay 750 dollars if fees,taxes etc he went as far as giving me a ref # for FedEx bla bla bla....people don't fall for it or give them any info it is a scam and they are to lazy to work and make an honest living so they want to steal our hard earned question is Why aren't these people found and prosecuted????u
May 01, 2019
I won a million. All I have to do is buy a stamp for $1425.00 and they will come out to bring me the million and pick up the $1425.00 call 347-667-0515
May 03, 2019
Why doesn't FTC do something about all the false advertising fro PCH????
Crystal canter
May 08, 2019
A guy name Mike said I won I think it scam
Don't use your…
June 19, 2020

In reply to by Crystal canter

The same guy just called me claiming I won 2.5 million dollars the number is 1-876-841-4777
Mattshealth60 60
May 09, 2019
I'm on the phone with a William Smith representing himself as publishers clearing House winners international saying I need to go to a CVS pharmacy and pay $825 to receive my check in the amount of 2.5 million dollars I realize this is a scam but I would like to know if anyone else has ever had this happen to them
May 09, 2019
we just received 2 phone calls from the pch scammers tell us we won 2.8 million and a new mercedes. BUT we needto send $1,250 in order to collect. I am posting the letters they sent including one from the FTC validating the money and award Form: The Desk of the vice President International promotions /prize award Dept. REF no: WIX/ RE/90100/ILC Recipient: Pam Whitater Date: May, 09 2019 Re: Manufacturers Global Promotion Official Rules Please ensure the below correspondence is read in its entirety. Congratulation the Following official publication of results for the International Gaming Commission organized by The Consortium of Manufacturers, The Publishers Clearing House Company, and The Global International Company Ltd where you. Mrs. Pam Whitater has emerged as one of the lucky winners in the mega jackpot prize, and therefore attracted a cash award payout of Two Million eight hundred thousand Dollars ($2,800.000.00 You’ve also win a brand new 2019 C-Class Mercedes Benz We write to officially notify you of this award, and to advise you to contact our assistant agent upon receiving of this notification. Prize will be delivered with Prize Patrol teams. After having your shipping and handling been processed to the claiming department prize will be delivered at your home location. From more information please contact your agent Mr. Francisco mason at: 1- 805 457 3670 Delivery of prizes: All checks will be delivered at the winner’s residence within 24-48 hours after brokerage fees have been received by Publishers Clearing House merchant banker Payout & Processing Services Inc. unless otherwise noted. The Consortium of Manufacturers has pre-paid in full all insurances to cover any lost, stolen, misdirected or damaged check. Winners will be refunded 100% of the total value of their check if lost, stolen or damaged while in transit. Payment of taxes and related expenses: All checks are processed by our merchant banker location to exempt winners from paying the tax the federal laws have impressed upon the IRS to charge on all lump sum payout. Each winner is solely responsible for all brokerage fees affiliated with their prize and paying any expenses associated with any prize which are not expressly included as part of the prize. 3 May, 09 2019 The Managing Director US Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC Ref No: Wiz/Re/90100/ILC Recipient Name: Mrs. Pam Whitater We at the US Federal Trade Commission is please to use this medium to notify the recipient that your prize that is coming from Publishers Clearing House for Two million eight hundred thousand US Dollars $2,800.000.00 has been certified and verified for delivery. But we understand that you owe the cooperation of shipping and handlings is needed to be cleared immediately. So we implore to you that you cooperate with the company and have your prize delivered to you respectively. NB (This Check will not be valid until the payments made). P.S. This prize which belongs to you that is located in the Port Washington NY branch must be clear. to start your process please contact your Publishers Clearing House agent Mr. Francisco mason. Yours sincerely, ………………………………………………. Stephaney Cooper Director)-H-372/1029-H-374
May 20, 2019
I have received 2 calls in the last 4 days from "Consumers Clearing House" stating I am a 2nd place winner of $500,000! I listened carefully to the 2nd caller and the script was exactly the same as the first call. Both callers wanted to know if someone was living with me and what their name was. I refused both times. The call ended when I asked for the name of the law office who was calling to be repeated. Both calls began with the name of a law office which I couldn't understand and couldn't write down. Both callers were difficult to understand as they spoke broken English. The first call ended when we accidentally disconnected the call. I then waited to see if they called back; they didn't. Both calls were from different states. Definitely a scam!!
May 20, 2019
Just received a call from a guy posing as 2 agents from PCH. His voice was very recognizable. Quoted a fee of $680 and change to register my prize and pay some sort of upfront tax. This is really a well thought out plan to scam
May 22, 2019
I got called from 2 different numbers that look like USA numbers but are from Jamaica. The caller said I had won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes of 1.5 Million and a 2019 Benz convertible. I would need to send 857.00 from Walmart for state taxes and fees to get a verification number in order to obtain my prizes.
Carol and Jim
May 30, 2019
Carol got a call from the Dillon & Frost Associates law firm saying she had won$500,000 as 2nd prize in the PCH sweepstakes. Then she was turned over to Anna Lewinski form Global Security Express who told her she would have to pay back $65,500 to HSBC as they were going to pay the tax on the prize. They said they would come to her house on Monday between 9 and 11 AM. Reported to Sheriff, PCH, and the FTC. Neither person spoke good English, and were difficult to understand.
June 21, 2019

In reply to by Carol and Jim

I just the exact same call as this, from the exact same person Anna Lewinski from Global Security Express. Claiming I've won 500.000. And that HSBC would pay 65.500 up front for me in taxes. And after I receive the check on Monday between deposit the check and once it clears I'd have to pay 65.500 back to HSBC. After I asked apparently too many questions, her voice got even thicker as she got more frustrated and I told her I looked up Dillon And Frost Law firm and it's not located in Ohio....she then hung up...and didnt even say goodbye! Lol.
June 04, 2019
I was notified that I won 2.5 million and a Toyota Camry back in February. Bill Murphy was the guys name.... no phone number. He said to buy a Walmart gift card for $375 and keep it to present to the person bringing the check. Also stated that no money is to be sent, I keep the gift card! I’m so Leary! Help!!!!
Granny Cheryl
June 08, 2019
I was notified today my name was on a winner's list for the elderly to get $150,000 called agent Jeff to find out and behold I was selected so only had to send $6000.00 go to CVS and buy cards to send will get check in 7 days via UPS
June 13, 2019
I was told to text someone at PCH and he responded back to me stating he was a special agent. He verified my info and told me I won $80,000 but I had to send 3 $100 Google play store cards. Then I would receive a cashier's check by UPS within 8 hours.
June 14, 2019
I got a phone call from a man with a foreign accent (nothing wrong with that) asking if I would be home to accept my prize. They claimed I won PCH 2.5 Million. I said no, they persisted. Finally I told him this: You are hurting people, and you should be ashamed of yourself. How do you sleep? He asked me if I was declining to accept my winnings, and asked why I said that . I said: I don’t believe a word you say. He said: you dong have to accept it. We will give it to someone else. Please don’t get caught in this kind of scam. Some people will really be tempted to believe it. These people are the worst bottom feeding scum suckers on the planet.
June 20, 2019
I was contacted by a person on insta saying he was with publishers clearing house. He said I won 12.5 million a Mercedes Benz and 25k a week for life but had to send money his name was lee johnson. He said he was danielle lams agent even tried to hook me up with her. I sent the money to a angela downing in Arizona selina holder in Lawrenceville goergia and a dominic Belcher in Florida. They have even sent a fake check that looked legit but ended up bouncing but luckily I didnt use any one it. I am out 5600 dollars and there is no way i can get that back. Contacted every law enforcement agency in America and they all told me the same thing
June 20, 2019
Has anyone had publishers clearing house call them and ask for you address for them to bring you your winners directly to your home???? Then 2 months later after me not giving them my address and basically just hanging on them they called me today asking to return their call with chequeing account information ?? If so how'd it go???
June 22, 2019
Dear Emma, FTC: Why is the burden on me as a private citizen to follow all your warnings and how not to respond to PCH phone, mail, and email PCH scams? You FTC, as my protector against such intrusions, are not doing your job to shut down such activity. Your response on how you are eliminating these scams would be welcome to ease my angst against you. You would think the real PCH would lobby you as well to eliminate these scams, unless the use these scans as a marketing tool. Sincerely,
New York 928
July 02, 2019
Received a tex saying-Hello -------have you received the letter sent to you via mail in regards to PCH free lottery consumer reward Services Ltd in which you won $250,000 in JUNE 2019 if you did not receive the mail Please kindly get back with tyour correct mailing address not P.O B. OX so a CHECK of a portion of your winnings can be mailed to you to help you in your claim.....Juliet Smith Coordinator PCH Consumer Survey Reward Program. FIRST WHY WOULD YOU ONLY SEND ME A PORTION OF MY WINNINGS LOL- I FEEL SORRY FOR THE INDIVIDUALS THAT GET SCAMMED -SOMETIMES THESES SCAMMERS COME UP WITH GREAT SCAMS AND DO CATCH THE ONES THAT DON'T KNOW BUT -I AM HERE TO TELL YOU BE AWARE AND NEVER EVER SEND MONEY TO ANYONE NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY BECAUSE IF YOU WIN A PRIZE YOU BETS TO BELIEVE YOU DON'T HAVE TO SEND MONEY PERIOD ---FLAT OUT--DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
July 02, 2019
PCH Sweepstakes SCAM My friend’s Facebook and Messenger account was hacked by someone, unknown to me. I connected with her on Messenger to say hi. The following is the full conversation in Messenger with ‘her’. She told me about the PCH money that she had gotten - $120,000, just for purchasing Gift Cards and a Magazine subscription. Obviously, I was quite skeptical, but I have known her for many years and worked with her for about 6 years at a Non-profit, thus bought into this for a while. Something too good to be true it for sure. I made a contact with the individual, via text ‘she’ gave me, Bill Herd. The conversation is below the messenger conversation. Numerous things popped up to cause pause and then provided some basic information to him that can generally be found on the internet along with some bogus Net Worth info. I then decided to contact my friend, via phone, as I was not believing what was going on. She confirmed her account was hacked and don’t believe it. Bill Herd said I WON $150,000 and all I need to do is purchase $1,800 in gift cards at Walgreens and give to a currier, upon delivery of my check, which will happen within 48 hours(Initially on Messenger all I had to do was send them a photo of the gift card receipt purchase). He then stated that I must pay cash for the cards. Then, in the evening I said I couldn’t make it to the bank in time to get the cash, so he said I could use my CC then. Reported things to the local, state and federal authorities, along with FB.
July 04, 2019
I received a text from Attorney Douglas Pchagent. Asking me for personal information, stating that PCH does not have all my personal information. Hey everyone, I will not send this info. until I can talk with PCH person on Regular work day.
hobo joe
July 04, 2019
after reading comments i don't feel like that non speaking nut that call us all time of the day and night is pecking on us.right now we have acheck in front of me for7,600.00. from a company call chinook asia llc in lake oswego,or 97035.we receive others and trash them when they want you to pay for taxes up wife enter publishers clearing house giveaway 5 yrs ago and thebroken english guy call almost every day even on hoildays it the 4 of july today we got two calls already and it 11:00am.we should sue publishers clearing house.we been harass for 5 yrs time to chane phone number.
July 04, 2019
I received a call today from Mr Dave Sawyer, he tried to scam me today and asked me to call him back to make arrangements for me to send a check to Dorothy Rice, in So Carolina , I hung up, he had the nerve to call back a couple of times...
Jerry Smith
July 05, 2019
I just got a call from a Dave Sayer (pronounced Sawyer). Phone number he provided was 1-876-846-1108. When I said I was unwilling to "Pay the registration tax" on the PHC $500,000 they were going to give me, he hung up. Do NOT, Do NOT be suckered into providing these kinds of calls any MONEY, or your SSN, or Birthdate. If it's legit - I'm pretty sure they'll show up at your house with a giant check...they won't call first.
Michelle mcm
July 05, 2019
What is spectrum PCH?
July 13, 2019
My mom was just scammed out of thousands recently there using Facebook messenger with fake profiles posing as family members and close friends. WhatsApp also. Coming from Nigeria!!
July 16, 2019
Whoa!!! Got call from a Johnny Rogers w/ PCH saying i won $900k and check to be delivered today; gave his badge # JR7454 along w/ a confirmation package # and my check #. Said a team would need to accompany me to the bank to make sure its deposited into my account - i asked why, he said b/c its a very large check and the bank will ask questions. The team consists of UPS driver named Bobby Peters and Attorney named Linder Green. He said we'll come pick you up in a Limo to take you to the bank; said to trust him as this is not a joke and they want to keep it quiet and confidential. I said if you show up in my hood w/ a Limo - quiet is out the window! ! He went on to say i also won a new Mercedes Benz and it would be delivered on a flatbed truck. As i started asking more questions he got upset saying do you want this package or not? I then made another comment about this being a scam then he hung up. Lets call it what it is - SCAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!
July 20, 2019
Still at it, happened to me but I was to smart for him he started getting mad. I told him I called PCH and they said it was a scam.
James Steinke
July 23, 2019
Reporting a scam under Publisher's Clearing House, Inc. for a win of $85K wanting money tom covwer an insurance.
July 24, 2019
A friend of mine from Facebook messaged me and let me know that she just received money from publishers clearing House or DHHS and she said also that apparently I was on the same list and that I needed to friend somebody and as soon as I did they immediately sent me a message saying let us check our database on your name congratulations you are a winner. For the past four days they have continued contact me telling me that I need to send in $1,000 to claim my winnings and I've told them that you got to be joking I can't afford $1,000 right now to win anything and if I'm winning something how come I have to pay for it? They said it's for fees and to pay for UPS delivery and all that good stuff so I went along with it for just a little bit. then I checked my Facebook messenger and apparently it was a phony account it was not by my friend supposedly because the person had no photo had no timeline no information whatsoever so I meet Lee got suspicious. so I messaged the other person saying I'm believing that this to be a scam and they keep on swearing up and down that is 100% legit and they now said that I don't have to win $150,000 that they're increasing it to $200,000 and then I don't have to pay $1,000 I only have to pay $500 and I have to pay it on 5 different prepaid cards. so this is getting more fishy by the minute. I'm a single dad raising three kids alone on one solo and, and I could definitely use this money but if I find out that this is a scam and order to swindle more money out of my pocket it's taking food out of my kids mouth then I'm going to blow up. I contacted my real friend not on Facebook and she mentioned that she never send me those messages and that she never texted me or anything so I'm actually all the red flags went off in my head. I just had to tell these people to suck it because I got the feeling that I'm about to be scammed out of my hard-earned money that me and my kids desperately need I hate the idea of throwing away a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but it sounds like Satan in a Sunday hat way too good to be true and the fact that I have to pay in order to receive this I just saw on your website don't pay for your winnings and that even they may send a phony check which looks legit so again all the red flags are going off in my head give me some advice on what I should do about this catastrophe please.
July 26, 2019
I received a text message saying I won in June 2019 the amount of $250000, all they wanted was my full name and address. It was from Juliet Smith coordinator for PCH, phone number was 1-805-774-2092
Another gullib…
August 01, 2019
Received call from 954 526 4145 this morning August 1, 2019. I won $255,000. plus a Mercedes Bentz. I only needed to pay 1% as they had paid rest of taxes and interest. Amount of $1,350. But needed to be prepaid in MoneyGram. I should not have answered call from No Caller ID. I told them I do not deal with scammers like them.
August 03, 2019
Went to to fill out the form. Since then, I have been receiving multiple emails trying to get me to sign up for subscriptions and not honoring the "No Purchase Necessary " clause. So my entry really hasn't been received.
August 09, 2019
14233010390 scammer PCH
August 13, 2019
Iv been scammed was told I'm on winners list witch I new I was an was told to give Facebook account an password an not to change it till FedEx is at my doorstep with my package so what do I do now after them hacking me can i find out who did it an how thanks for taking the time to read this hope to here back from someone
August 14, 2019
Got a letter supposedly from PCH. Said I won a $30 prize. Didn't say what prize was. Tried to excite me by saying it was the biggest prize they will give to customers. BUT, you had to order at least one of their cheap items first to receive it! This was after playing PCH Lotto app for awhile and a hacker messing up my phone. : ( Had to totally reset it.