Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Scams?

Can You Trust PCH's Famous Sweepstakes?

Man running down sidewalk with a giant check, similar to the ones PCH awards.
Does PCH Really Award Those Giant Checks? Or Are Their Sweepstakes Scams?. Image (c) Cultura RM/Ian Spanier/Getty Images

Are Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Legit or Scams?

Everyone's heard of those million-dollar sweepstakes SuperPrizes from PCH, but can they be trusted?

Some people worry that because they don't know anyone who's ever won, the prizes are never awarded, and PCH sweepstakes are frauds. Others can't imagine why a company would legitimately give away such big prizes on a regular basis and still stay in business.

People Really Do Win Prizes from PCH Sweepstakes

Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes are legitimate, but it is extremely hard to win their mega prizes.

Publishers Clearing House runs many big creative presentation sweepstakes, which give away millions of dollars every year. Those prizes are fairly awarded as advertised.

But the PCH name is so big and so many people enter them that the odds of winning are extremely long.

For example, their $10 Million Giveaway Number 1170, which ended in 2008, offered odds of 1 in 505 million. That's comparable to the odds of hitting a jackpot in a lottery.

So is it surprising that you don't know a PCH SuperPrize winner? Chances are that you don't know many lottery jackpot winners, either.

Is It Worth My Time to Enter PCH Sweepstakes?

Why do so many people enter when the chance of winning a jackpot is so slim? Well, PCH offers truly life-changing prizes that are fun to dream about winning.

And while the odds are extremely long, at least you don't have to pay to enter, as you do with lotteries.

Furthermore, remember that you don't have to win a SuperPrize to benefit from PCH giveaways.

Aside from their multi-million-dollar giveaways, Publishers Clearing House also offers many other giveaways, many of which have better odds.

For example, PCH Search and Win gives away prizes every few minutes, and PCH Games lets you win prizes and tokens while playing fun online games.

For more information, see Top Ways to Win with PCH.

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

PCH's SuperPrize giveaways are among the most well-known sweepstakes in America, which means that they receive millions upon millions of entries. (Remember that the best sweepstakes to enter are usually ones with little advertising).

With the sheer number of people hoping to win, it's not surprising if you haven't met any that have been successful. But that doesn't mean that there aren't any winners.

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, who took home a million-dollar prize for doing an online search. Check out the interview to read a real winner describe receiving such a huge prize in her own words.

Beware Sweepstakes Scams Pretending to Be From PCH

Although PCH's sweepstakes are legitimate, you still need to be very cautious if you receive a winning notification from PCH.

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 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).

II have some specific tips on how to tell if you've really won from Publishers Clearing House that you'll want to check out before responding to any win notice.

If you're still unsure, 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, how to unsubscribe from any unwanted mails or emails, and how to get more answers to your questions, read Publishers Clearing House Contact Numbers.

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