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Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams?

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Question: Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams?
Are sweepstakes from Publishers Clearing House worth entering, or are they just scams? Everyone's heard of sweepstakes offering millions of dollars from PCH, but I've rarely heard of anyone winning. Is that because Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are frauds?
Answer: No, Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are legitimate, it's just very hard to win the mega prizes. Publishers Clearing House runs many big creative presentation sweepstakes giving away millions of dollars, but with very long odds. Their $10 Million Giveaway Number 1170 which ended in 2008 offered odds of 1 in 505 million. While these odds are extremely long, at least you don't have to pay to enter, like you do with lotteries.

Aside from the million-dollar giveaway, Publishers Clearing House also offers other sweepstakes, many of which have better odds. For example, PCH Search and Win gives away prizes every few minutes, and PCH Games lets you spin a wheel to win prizes and tokens.

Why Haven't I Heard of Any Publishers Clearing House Winners?

The multi-million dollar giveaways from Publishers Clearing House are among the most well-known sweepstakes in America, and they get millions upon millions of entries. With the sheer number of people entering, it's not surprising if you haven't met any.

The Publishers Clearing House Winner's Circle lists recent winners, and you can watch PCH winners' videos on YouTube.

I've also interviewed PCH winner Natalie Bostelmann. It's interesting to hear a real winner describe winning such a huge prize in her own words.

Sweepstakes Scams Pretending to Be from Publishers Clearing House

Like other big companies including Reader's Digest, Microsoft, Heineken, and more, scammers try to seem more legitimate by sending letters or emails that claim to come from Publishers Clearing House. These scams can look very official, but they are not backed by PCH.

How to Tell Whether a Publishers Clearing House Win is a Scam

If you receive a win from Publishers Clearing House, follow my tips for identifying the Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams before responding. Some important questions to ask yourself include:
  • Do I remember entering this sweepstakes?
  • Is the sender really from Publishers Clearing House? Check the email address, telephone numbers, and names to see if they look legitimate.
  • Is the sender asking for money, a credit card number, or a bank account number? (See the Things that Aren't Signs of Sweepstakes Scams to see what's normal when you win sweepstakes).

If you're still not sure, read my specific tips on how to tell if you've really won from Publishers Clearing House. Best of all, Publishers Clearing House has a toll-free number that you can call to verify any win that you receive from them. Call 1-877-3SWEEPS (1-877-379-3377) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to check if you've really won. If that number doesn't work, check the Publishers Clearing House SweepSmarts website for current information.

If you'd like more information about how to get in touch with PCH and get more answers to your questions, read Publishers Clearing House Contact Numbers.

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