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Have you gotten a call about a prize for a contest you never entered? It might be a scam. We’ve been hearing about scammers calling to say you’ve won a boatload of money from Publishers Clearing House (PCH) through a multi-state lottery. They tell you to call a number and press 1 to learn more. If you don’t, you supposedly won’t get the money. What would you do?

Never pay to get a prize. That's a scam.

Well, if you press 1, they’ll tell you some version of this fictional story: you won several million dollars (you didn’t), the winnings are at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (they’re not), and you need to pay a fee to get your money (you really, really don’t). No matter what version of the story you hear: it’s a scam.

Here are some things to know to avoid this and other prize scams:

  • Real prizes are free. If there’s a charge, it’s a scam. Anyone who tells you to pay to get your prize — whether it’s for "taxes," "shipping and handling charges," or “processing fees” — is a scammer. Stop and walk away.

  • Scammers tell you to act NOW. They tell you it’s a limited offer and try to rush you. They don’t want you to have time to think about what’s really happening. If anyone tries to hurry you into paying, stop. Remember that’s something scammers do.

  • Scammers use names that look like the real thing. But no real sweepstakes company will demand money for a prize. To double-check, reach out to the real company. Make sure to use contact information you found yourself — not what the person who called you gave you.

Spot a prize scam? Tell the FTC at

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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.

Dorothy A Johnson
December 27, 2023

I received several emails and call about I won some prizes I didn’t enter.

John P Bushey
December 27, 2023

Thank you all for doing your job..Without you telling people about these bogus companies They would have been taken for out of there money. And many of these people have little money as it is..The Government should fund you more than they do Because your the ones making a difference in preventing money to be stolen from the American people..So keep up the Great work..Catch them and shut them down and fine them heavily. Happy Holidays to you all. Be safe and keep well. Thank You

Nancy Davis
December 27, 2023

Yep, I have been inundated with these scam calls. I call them a scammer let 5hem know PXH would never ask for any money and hang up!

kathy carlson
December 27, 2023

Back in 2000's i was and had done that even PCH all the entries i have done thru them and a bunch of others from different places i had finally gave up on them because the only thing i got was a manuscript book saying i have a god given gift ...Not to my knowledge...i think now PCH is a scam !

John Haynes
December 27, 2023

I never answere the phone unless I recognize the caller. I never answer these kind of calls.

Carolyn B in TN
January 02, 2024

In reply to by John Haynes

My message was 12/20/23. I don't answer but knew was scam from NY $7,000 per wk rest of my life number options to push or call another NY# and approved by Postal inspector gave a name. I also had a number ID call from Jamica.
Just spreading the word appreciate alerts. This is one elderly didn't become a victim!

Doug. J.
December 27, 2023

I haven't seen any updates for PCH for what their being charged with.

December 27, 2023

Thank you so much for the information.

December 27, 2023

Or if you know it's a scam, keep them on the line as long as possible so someone more gullible doesn't get a call.

Tommy Carpenter
December 27, 2023

I get this one (PCH) at least once a week and it is always the same story "call Mr xxxxx " to claim your winnings and pay the $500 Dollar processing fee.

December 27, 2023

This very timely. I been receiving these calls.
Good work.

Sharon Wright
December 27, 2023

I've gotten these calls more than once, I just hang up..Thanks for all the info that you share. It keeps me and others safe.

Mike Bryan Stalsby
December 27, 2023

It happened to me last week, the difference was that
they were going to bring me a check for $14,500,000
to my door. I guess fortunately for me, when i called
the "876" number, which i later learned was Jamaica,
no one answered. The man that called identified himself as John Miller, and gave me a "badge number." He insisted i write down everything he told me. On two occasions, our connection failed. During those times, i did some research on his phone number and found it was from Jamaica and saw reports of it being a scam. After that, i no longer took his calls. Later, i would get calls from a "private number" from them, and answered only once, then answered no more calls; they called up until
around mid-night that evening.

Sylvia R Bencomo
December 27, 2023

I live in a retirement community in Green Valley, AZ. I volunteer for our Sheriff's Department taking calls from people who have been scammed. The PCH scam is common around here. We are constantly warning citizens of this and other scams and what to do and not do. It is so hard to convince some people to not send money. We will even call PCH to verify if their name was picked as a winner. Keep sending warnings because these scams are here to stay. Thank you for what you do.

Patricia Jean …
December 27, 2023

I received a PCH call stating that I had won 18.5m. However, I had to pay them up front $5000. Then they asked me to take out a loan, which I refused to do. Then they asked me to go to the closest CVS or Walgreens store and stay on the line with them until I got to the parking lot. At this point, I hung up. However, they continued to call me over the next several days even though I declined each call. This is the 2nd time this year this has happened to me. The 1st I ended up sending them codes to Walgreens & CVS cards to the tune of $800. I am so glad that you put this notice out. Thank you!

Cheryl Butler
December 27, 2023

You guys rock thank you for keeping us Seniors (and others), up to date on the latest scams.

Bill Connelly
December 27, 2023

Great information. Thank you

December 27, 2023


December 27, 2023

Can FYC retrieve my money?

December 27, 2023

An elderly family member is harassed by this scam at least once a month. We tell them not to call back, but they'll call few days in a row. I've even told them to stop preying on the elderly, they continue to call. They use fake phone numbers & it's different every time. I sure wish they'd get busted so they leave us alone!

December 27, 2023

I received an email from Sam's Club stating:" Sam wants to reward you". Purchase one of the items displayed for only shipping cost. I elected to buy a Car Video Camera. Paid $5.90.
The camera arrived then I received an email from my bank asking if I had made a transaction for $55.90. I replied no, and the transaction was not processed. Had to get another debit card as that card could be used by the scammer for more attempts to get money.
Last week again I received a phony Sam's Club email. But this time I noticed the sender had a strange email address, again stating I could get another item at a cheap price. Did not bite this time. I forwarded the phony email to Sam's Club corporate.

December 27, 2023

Happened to me and my husband last summer. Lost $50,000.00 and almost my marriage. He believed them and I didn't...but his health was poor, and I didn't want to upset him. Won't do that again!!!!

Carole S.
December 27, 2023

I recieved two messages from "PCH" and kept them on my answerinng machine so my friends could be aware. We all had a good laugh. Thank you for keeping us informed of scams.

Alice Rodgers
December 27, 2023

Thanks for this information. I was not surprised that this is a SCAM. However, I've come close to being scammed once before. THANKFULLY, I realized it was a scam and didn't get taken.

It seems to me that there are MANY, MANY, MANY SCAMMERS OUT THERE and so we all need to be very careful when we get something that sounds good but IS DEFINITELY NOT! Thanks for doing this.

Carlos Villagrana
December 27, 2023

I have a ? Is this true of the pch prize

Ricardo Garcia
January 02, 2024

If someone calls you stating to be from the claims department and impersonating PCH personnel such as Mr. Goodman, ignore them.

Michael anthon…
January 12, 2024

Get my money back form the government unclaimed property and get my money back form Google maps and PCHLOTTO online marketing and survey and gaming games Sweepstakes biggest winner 🏆 and AT&T online marketing and survey and gaming games Sweepstakes winner 🏆

Adrian Vance
January 11, 2024

PCH appears to be a scam, but it may have employees who are using the names and phone numbers of their game players to tell them they have won a big prize, but the winner will have to pay the first year's taxes! These people always have eastern European accents, speak in the upper register of voice (higher frequencies), refer to themselves as "Mr" with a "Waspy" like "Brown," "Smith," "Johnson," etc. I have told PCH these facts, but nothing happens and that supports the hypothesis that they are authoring and responsible, but this is all in question.

Susan cooper
January 16, 2024

I got 8 calls in a month saying I won a car 5 million dollars

January 17, 2024

I got a call from this number
+1 (612) 496-2119 by a guy called James Walker from PCH.
He stated I won $2,500.000, a Mercedes E class and $7,500/moth for life.
He said there is a fee to claim the price.
I asked him why a woman and kids were hollering in his background?! He didn’t respond to my question. I hung up and he called four more times.
I decided to have some fun with this and play hardball
He got upset because I was so very private.
Beware of him and this number
+1 (703) 469-5732 Which is supposedly his manager that will take you to Walmart, Walgreens or CVS to pick up your first check 😂😂😂

Frank oviedo
January 19, 2024

I have been told many time to pay a fee

Eric C.
January 22, 2024

It's good to know that they have tried to get one out of me a matter of fact they did but I had to go to the bank and change out my information and get new debit cards

January 25, 2024

My neighbor is currently being scammed by this and wont listen to anyone. He has sent a total of 1000.00 in gift cards and he thinks they are coming to his house at 4 to give him 5 million, a gold ring and a car. My heart breaks for him and the excitement he is finally receiving from believing his life will be changed in mere hours.

January 25, 2024

There was a message on my landline when I got home today. I have a flat rate service so I can't see who's calling me I can only transcribe to the best of my knowledge with this man said a couple of the words look rumbled because I couldn't understand them.
"Have a good day this is Basil Howard calling on behalf the distribution center, publishers clearing House. My reason and purpose for calling this is in reference to prize that you have won yourself. You want to 1.8 billion dollars, $10, 000 a week for a life Hu, and a brand new car. Please give us a call for further information on poleas you an receive it. Passage number 9102100934 I repeat 9102100934. Please do give us a call as soon as you receive this message. Thank you, bye now."

Wednesday January 24th 2024 7:31 p.m.
It sounds like an old man I'm not sure I've got his name right either but there you have it

January 26, 2024

I had countless calls from them. Always out of Jamaica.

January 29, 2024

I just received a text saying I won a prize. I just blocked the number

January 30, 2024

I just received a call from Elizabeth Goodman saying that I had won 3 million dollars and a brand new Mercedes and to rush to CVS and purchase a Vanilla Visa Card for 299.99 by a man named David Anderson. I felt like I was being rushed to purchase the card. I feel if I’ve won PCH will just show up at my door. I know this was a scam.