Tag Archives: PCH prize

PCH Sweepstakes calls plague Snake River Region residents

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Get out your wallet …. “You’ve won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes!”

Sounds great, right? No, wait, it’s a scam Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes’ call.

The scam goes as follows: Global International representatives are calling residents and telling the person who answers the phone that he/she has won a prize from PCH. But first, the person must pay a fee to retrieve the money they have allegedly won. (Amounts have varied from $150 to $500.)

Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region warns this is a scam; one of several using the Publisher’s Clearing House name.

Publishers Clearing House awards its prizes in a personal visit (depending on the value) to the winners’ homes and does not charge winners to collect their prize. If you’ve won the PCH sweepstakes, you don’t have to pay. Never pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. And, this includes paying  taxes upfront before receiving your prize! Your federal tax filing is due April 15! Federal law dictates that no money can be paid to win a prize.

Do the following:

Record the call if you can, or take notes and then contact the BBB– Write down the phone number. Then, contact BBB at info@boise.bbb.org or (208)342.4649.

You must enter to win. Remember lottery tickets must be purchased and sweepstakes must be entered to win. Sweepstakes usually involve application paperwork that you have personally completed and government grants have a thorough application process as well.

Never pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you’re not winning. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to collect your prize.

Never wire money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies because wiring money is the same as sending cash. When the money’s gone, there’s very little chance of recovery. Likewise, resist any push from the caller to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Con artists recommend these services so they can get their hands on your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.

Phone numbers can deceive. Internet technology allows con artists to disguise their area code so it looks like they’re calling from your local area. But they could be calling from anywhere in the world.

Watch the grammar. If the scam comes in writing – scam letters, faxes or emails are often full of grammatical and spelling errors.

Ask Questions: If the caller has a difficult time answering any “off script” questions, this is a red flag that it’s not legitimate.

Never give personal information. Scammers can be very charming and charismatic and will lure or pressure for personal information.

Foreign lotteries are illegal. Beware of lottery applications or win announcements coming via telephone or mail from outside the country. Foreign lotteries violate federal law and participating in any way is illegal. The only legal lotteries in the United States are state-run.


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Publisher’s Clearing House is not in CANADA!

By Robb Hicken/ chief storyteller

For 74-year-old Alice of Meridian, it was a slip in judgment and it cost her.

Publishers Clearing House (PCH), headquartered in Port Washington, N.Y., is a leading multi-channel direct marketer of value-based consumer products and magazines and a respected leader in the direct marketing industry.

Everyone dreams of winning a PCH sweepstakes, but in most cases, prize notifications coming through the mail are nothing more than attempts to steal your money.

Alice, who has entered the sweepstakes on many occasions online, says she was gleefully surprised when she received a letter in the mail notifying her she’d been selected to receive $650,000.

“Who wouldn’t want to win that much money,” she said in an interview recently.

BBB warns sweepstakes scams have cheated consumers nationwide out of millions of dollars in recent years. Such circumstances arise when people put too much faith in strangers in the belief they will win large sums of money or expensive vehicles and prizes.

Alice says when she called the 1-800 telephone number (800-705-4260) to confirm, a man named John Parker celebrated with her over the sweepstakes win.

“He was very polite, enthusiastic and friendly,” she says. “He didn’t sound like con artist.”

When Parker instructed her to prepare two packets of cash to pay for processing and insurance fees, Alice did not recognize the warning signs. The instructions were to place the cash inside two separate magazines, place the magazines inside a manila envelope, and then mail them to two different addresses.

She did as she was instructed and sent the envelopes by FedEx to Rich McCoy, Suite 620, 1085 Home St., Vancouver, BC, 46Z21P6, and to Ben Beck, Suite 184, 2498 W. 34th Ave., Vancouver, BC 46MZA7.

When she called Parker on his cell, (604-700-9775) and let him know it was on the  way, he was so excited to be one step closer to her receiving her money.

“I took a $3,000 cash advance on two different credit cards to get the money to send,” Alice explained. “I took the rest of it out of my savings.”

In total, Alice mailed $12,000 in cash to Canada. By the time she repays the bank, it will be well over $20,000 that she will have lost.

The BBB office receives between 10 and 20 phone calls a week from people asking about lottery or sweepstakes notifications. And often, the callers cannot believe they are being scammed.

Alice repeatedly said she felt so gullible, so duped, and so dumb for having fallen for this scam.

“I guess I’ll never see that money again,” she says. “I just glad the account manager at my bank [Wells Fargo] helped me straighten this out.”


  • Nearly all of mail notifications are fraudulent.
  • You should never send cash to receive winnings from a lottery or sweepstakes.
  • Never wire money – Wire transfers are like cash and can’t be recovered.
  • Be suspect of winning something you never bought a ticket for or entered.
  • Foreign lotteries are illegal. Check the postage on the envelope and if it is a foreign stamp, throw the letter away.



Filed under Scam alert