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Publishers Clearing House scams: What you need to know

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Despite the fact that a Senate committee is currently investigating whether or not Publishers Clearing House (PCH) is engaging in deceptive advertising practices against the elderly, there is no doubt that the well-known sweepstakes company's name is being used to perpetrate crimes against hundreds of targets by confirmed criminals, according to a May 7, 2014 report from Channel 12's WPRI television news station.

Callers claiming an affiliation with PCH have asked their targeted victims to put as much as $285 onto a green dot money card, so they can pick it up and then deliver the alleged prize waiting for them from Publishers. But this isn't how the direct marketing company delivers its prizes, so it is a scam.

The criminals are also asking potential prize winners to share information with them about the "winner's" driver's license as well as their utility bills, which the real prize patrol member company does not ever ask their winners to do. So if you get such a request--elderly, or not--don't do it.

Phone numbers that have Jamaica area codes are being used quite frequently in these scams, which is a big red flag, and most folks have been keeping up with PCH's warnings about this kind of ploy on the company's blog and their Facebook pages. So many people already know not to fall for these criminal tricks. But for those who may not know how the PCH Prize Patrol team really operates--by showing up unannounced at your home with balloons, a big check and champagne and roses--there is the possibility someone will be fooled into parting with their money by these scam artists.

With the May 7 announcement on the PCH Blog about a new "Win It All" dream life prize to be given away on June 30, the direct marketing company's television commercials could result in more people being targeted by such criminals in addition to the hundreds targeted this month in Rhode Island. But, hopefully, not.

You never have to pay to accept a prize you win from Publishers Clearing House. And unless the PCH Prize Patrol members Dave, Todd and/or Danielle show up at your home with one of those big checks, you will not have to prove you are the person who's name is written on it--especially not over the phone.

In regards to the special Senate committee investigating the direct marketing company itself, you can read all about that investigation here. And in just a day or two, the Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith is set to publish her six-month findings about what she learned as a sweepstakes entrant and online PCH game player. And the results might surprise you--and Publishers Clearing House.

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