2-part series: If you pay, they will continue to prey

posted by Mike Burke on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 in SHAZAM Blog

Part 1: Publishers Clearing House scam 

Winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes would be exciting — who doesn’t want to win? There’s a possibility that one of your accountholders may soon get a phone call saying they’ve won! Wow, wouldn’t that be thrilling? If you happen to know a recent “winner,” I can assure you that’s not the case, and most likely they’re a victim of fraud. 

Here’s how the “winning” scam works and what accountholders should be aware of: 

  • A telephone call claiming the accountholder has won a sweepstakes prize and asking them to send money — STOP. They haven’t heard from a legitimate sweepstakes company. Publishers Clearing House does not notify their contest winners by phone. 
  • An email notifying them that they've won a major sweepstakes prize but asking them to provide personal financial information or send money — STOP.  They’ve most likely been contacted by a fraudulent sweepstakes scam operator. At Publishers Clearing House, they don’t notify major prizewinners by email.  
  • A check in the mail accompanied by a letter stating it’s for a legitimate sweepstakes prize and asking them to cash it and wire or send a portion back — STOP.  They’re the victim of a fraud. The check is not real! Consumers should always remember that at Publishers Clearing House, no payment or fee is ever necessary to enter or claim a prize.
  • If an accountholder is asked to provide their card number or provide their financial institution account information to claim a sweepstakes prize — STOP. Fraudulent scam artists often request this information and then go on a spending spree with the new “winner’s” debit card or wipe out their bank account. 
  • Preying upon the elderly: Very recently, SHAZAM was made aware of a bank customer who fell victim to this scam and paid $75,000 initially to gain and reap the rewards of the sweepstakes. After the customer paid the initial $75,000 for processing fees for the sweepstakes, the fraudsters, identifying themselves as the FBI, contacted this victim and advised they required an additional $25,000 to avoid a money laundering charge from being filed. The victim contacted law enforcement.  

Bottom line, this is elder fraud, although it can happen to anyone. Publishers Clearing House has been around since 1953, and there’s a one (1) in 2.4 billion chance of winning. Their Prize Patrol offers these scam tips: PCH Scam Prevention Tips


  1. fraud
  2. risk

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