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Will Someone with My Initials in My Area Really Win the PCH Sweepstakes?

The story behind a common misconception about PCH's Sweepstakes.

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Every time that Publishers Clearing House announces a SuperPrize winner, people wonder why they received a letter saying that the winner would be from their area or have their initials, when the winner has a totally different name and lives far away.

Here are some examples:

"I have been notified several times that someone with my initials and also in my zipcode would win a major prize on 02/28. I cannot find information that anyone in my area won anything." -- Ann Rutledge

"See my initials. My area is CA. I nor anyone with my initials won. So lie!" -- Jason H

To get to the bottom of this question, I went straight to the source and asked Publishers Clearing House for clarification. I asked Senior Vice President Todd Sloane why people were told that a winner would be chosen in their area or with their initials, if the SuperPrize winner's information was completely different. The answer, unsurprisingly, lies in the small print.

Here's Todd Sloane's reply:

"Every sweepstakes promotions we run offers a chance for someone to win. No one is ever told they are definitely on a list, etc. For the comments about initials or a specific area, they are referring to different contests we run.

We have a separate "Initials Contest" where each set of initials (AA, AB, AC, etc.) is guaranteed to win a $100 prize. For example, that means someone with the initials SG is going to win $100.

We also have a separate contest where we give away $1,000 in every local TV market (all 210) across the country. For example, that means that someone in the Buffalo TV area is guaranteed to win $1,000."

So in short, those mailings are telling you that someone in your area, and someone with your initials, is going to win something -- but not necessarily the million-dollar SuperPrize.

The silver lining is that there are lots of ways to win with Publishers Clearing House and tons of prizes to win. So while the chances of winning the SuperPrize are extremely slim, by entering you are also receiving chances to win many other cash prizes. Walking away with $1,000 wouldn't be so bad.

If you are curious about who the winners in your area were, PCH has a list of local winners who received the $1,000 prize.

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