A Forks resident wanted to share the check she received last week with the citizens of Forks …She didn’t want to share the money! she wanted to share that it was a scam.
After taking it to the bank it was confirmed that it was a phony deal and not a winning check from PCH, and the scammers continue to call her.
Here are six tips to help you spot PCH scams:
1. PCH Doesn’t Email or Call Its Big Winners
If you receive an email, a telephone call, or a bulk mail letter saying that you’ve won a big prize from PCH, it’s a scam.
So if you receive notification of a big prize by any method other than an in-person award, you know you’re being scammed. If anyone tells you you’ve won a million bucks from PCH other than the Prize Patrol, you know you can ignore the message.
However, you may be notified of smaller prize wins by mail or email, so continue to read the other signs of a legitimate PCH win.
2. You Never Have to Pay to Receive a Legitimate PCH Win
Scammers extort money from you in exchange for a promise of a prize that never materializes. The truth is you never, ever have to pay to receive a sweepstakes prize from Publishers Clearing House or any other company.
PCH’s website says:
“We do not ask for bank account information. There is no processing fee, tax or special handling charge required to win and our prizes are delivered free of charge to the winners.”
If your prize notification asks for money to pay for taxes, to release the prize, to pay for customs, or for any other reason, it’s a scam.
3. Don’t Give Out Confidential Information When You Enter
You don’t have to give Publishers Clearing House your address, PCH account number, bank account number, driver’s license number, or any other confidential information when you enter.
You may have to fill out an affidavit to verify eligibility if you win, but not when you enter. If the entry form asks for this kind of personal information, it’s a sign you are on a spoofed website.
What’s that? A spoofed website looks like the official PCH entry form. If you use it, however, you transmit your information directly to scammers instead. Here are some tips on how to identify fake websites.
4. A Check Doesn’t Mean You’ve Won
A popular sweepstakes scam makes it appear that you’re not really paying for your prize by handing over a check and asking you to send back some of the money. After all, they’re providing the funds, right?
Wrong. Those checks aren’t legitimate, and you’ll be left holding the bill.
5. Do Your Research Before You Respond
Before you respond to any win notice, especially those from big companies like PCH, take some steps to verify your prize wins.
Here are some important steps to take:
Use Google to search for similar win notifications that have been reported to consumer organizations by victims of scams.
Check that the person sending the notice really works for PCH.
Make sure you actually entered the giveaway you supposedly won.
6. Verify Your Wins With Publishers Clearing House Directly
If you’ve gone through the steps above, but you’re still not sure if your win notice is legitimate, contact PCH directly to ask them to verify your prize.
Do NOT use the telephone numbers or email addresses included in your win notice when you do this step — scammers often include fake contact information to trick their victims. For example, if you call a number in your win notice, you might reach the scammer, not the legitimate PCH organization.
Instead, use publicly available ways to contact PCH.