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Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about PCH Sweepstakes

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Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are probably the most famous and most dreamed-about sweepstakes in America. But are PCH sweepstakes scams? How will you know if you win? Learn the answers to these and other important questions here. For additional information, read the Publishers Clearing House Profile.

1. Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams?

Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are not scams. They really do award amazing prizes to lucky winners on a regular basis. However, the odds of being one of those winners is extremely small. The estimated odds of winning a recent $10 million sweepstake were 505,000,000 to one. That means if you entered every day, it would take you over one million years to have even odds of winning.

For that reason, I recommend not spending much time on PCH sweepstakes. If you want to drop in a few entries, great, but you should spread your entries out over other sweepstakes as well, like the ones found on the Big Sweepstakes, Lots of Prizes, or Instant Win Sweepstakes lists.

For more information, see Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams?

2. Will I Receive Spam from Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes?

Publishers Clearing House does not spam entrants, nor do they share the personal information of the people who enter their sweepstakes with other companies without permission. They abide by (and even exceed) CAN-SPAM laws, and they campaign to raise the bar in the email marketing industry.

That said, PCH relies on marketing as a revenue stream, and sweepstakes are a primary way for them to generate leads. When you sign up online, be prepared to face a tedious multi-page submission process with the option to sign up for a variety of offers and advertisements. Be sure to take your time and ensure that you are only signing up for the offers you really want.

Publishers Clearing House's privacy policy also indicates that your name will be added to mailing lists when you register. For more information, see How to Unsubscribe from Publishers Clearing House's Mailing Lists.

3. Do I Have to Buy Anything to Win a PCH Sweepstake?

No. Publishers Clearing House has built its entire business around offering sweepstakes. But you never, ever need to buy anything to win, and making a purchase will not improve your chances of winning.

Over the years, PCH has faced legal action for not making this clear enough to its entrants. Many states sued Publishers Clearing House for misleading advertising, and the company paid a multi-million dollar settlement, much of which was returned to victims of the misleading sweepstakes.

Today, PCH sweepstakes include features to make sure that recipients of their mailings understand their odds and the reality of the sweepstakes. They are also prohibited from using terminology that makes people believe they are close to winning.

4. I Received a Mail that Says I Might Be a Winner - Is It Real?

Read the fine print of the mailing carefully. If the mail is from Publishers Clearing House, it will usually say something like, 'If you enter this sweepstakes and your name is drawn, you might be a winner.'

No winner is drawn until the sweepstakes expires, so if they are still asking you to enter the sweepstakes, you have the same (very long) odds as everyone else no matter what the big print on the envelope says. In most cases, these mails are just enticements to enter the sweep.

For more details, see How to Recognize PCH Scams.

5. I Received a Call Asking for Money Before I Receive My Prize. Is It Legit?

While Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are not actually scams, many sweepstakes scammers pretend to be calling from PCH in order to convince people to part with their money. There are two very important things to remember about entering PCH sweepstakes:

  1. PCH does not notify winners by telephone.
  2. You NEVER have to pay to receive your prize.

The Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams still hold true for Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. If you are ever uncertain whether a win is really from PCH.com or not, you can contact them toll-free at 1-877-3SWEEPS (1-877-379-3377) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

6. How Will I Know When I Win Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes?

Publishers Clearing House notifies their winners either by mail or by the Prize Patrol showing up at the winner's doorstep. As stated above, PCH does not notify winners by telephone, email, or bulk mail. Be very careful not to confuse a legitimate PCH win with a scam using the Publishers Clearing House name. Read more about how to avoid Publishers Clearing House scams to protect yourself.

7. What If I'm Not Home When the Prize Team Arrives?

The Prize Patrol will find winners, even if they're not at home. The Prize Patrol has found people in the hospital, at work, after they've moved, they've even surprised a winner on an airplane! So don't worry about sitting around at home, if you've won, you'll find out soon. For more information, see this PCH publication: "Don't Change Your Vacation Plans," Says Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol. "We'll Find You If You Win."

8. Is a Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Running Right Now?

Probably. When a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes ends, a new one usually starts again right away. To find current PCH sweepstakes, check the Big Sweepstakes or Cash Sweepstakes lists.

9. Where Can I Find a List of Publishers Clearing House Winners?

For winners from 1986 to the present, visit the PCH.com Winner's Circle.

10. What Do I Do to Stop Receiving PCH Mailings?

If you or a relative are receiving too much mail from PCH, contact their customer service department at 1-877-3SWEEPS (1-877-379-3377) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The customer service department can reduce the number of mailings you receive, or they can remove your name from their mailing list altogether.

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