Scam Alert: Publishers Clearing House Scam

seniors, publishers clearing house scam, sweepstakes scam

Seniors should be on the lookout for Publishers Clearing House scams that are being reported now. Scammers claiming to be from Publishers Clearing House call the victim, claim the person has won a prize, and say that to claim the prize they need to pay for an attorney’s fee, processing fee, or taxes. 

Seniors have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in these scams. A recent victim in Hingham, Massachusetts lost $42,000, while one in Las Vegas lost $135,000.

According to the Better Business Bureau, adults over 55 are the primary target for sweepstakes, lottery, and prize scams, accounting for 72 percent of fraud reports for these types of scams over the last three years. 

Scammers are targeting seniors even more during the pandemic, attempting to take advantage of seniors in a more vulnerable and isolated time. Here’s what you can do to prepare yourself and make sure this Publishers Clearing House scam doesn’t happen to you.  

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Avoiding Publishers Clearing House Scams: What to Know

  • Don’t take actions such as sending money while you’re in a heightened state of joy, anxiety, fear, or stress.
  • You will not have to pay a fee to get sweepstakes money.
  • Keep track of any competitions you’ve entered so you’ll know if it’s a real thing.
  • Publishers Clearing House will not call you to let you know you’ve won a prize – they let people know either by mail or in person.
  • Scammers can change the caller ID and/or phone number to display any name or number, even if it is not the true name or number of the caller.
  • If any caller ask for money upfront, or for your personal information, hang up on them. You can always look the company or phone number up to see if it’s legitimate later. 
  • Do not send money via wire, bank deposit, gift card, or cash to anyone you do not know, even if the person claims to be a law enforcement official. 
  • If you’ve fallen for a scam, don’t be embarrassed. Report it as soon as possible in order to help others like you.
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Related Links

Medicare Fraud: How to Spot it, And What to Do

BBB Scam Tracker 

Report Fraud to the Federal Trade Commission

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