Publishers Clearing House Scam: You Won, Send Us $1,000 For “Insurance”

October 22, 2012
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“CONGRATULATIONS!!!” Stephen M. Cholewa was told in an email Sunday.

“On behalf of Publishers Clearing House, we are pleased to announce that you are our recent mega prize winner of $1,000,000.00 (One Million Dollars) a year winner in our recent Sweepstakes”

The only thing Cholewa was asked to do is to send $1,000 for “insurance” to “prevent bad titles, liens and other encumbrances,To minimize the risk during payout, To minimize undisclosed heirs and undisclosed liens, also to avoid fraudulent and treat concerning your Check.”

Never mind that the letter doesn’t make any sense, when a million dollars a year is dangled in front of us who bothers with the fine print.

Cholewa wrote and asked me if the offer was real or a scam.

I quickly assured him it was a scam. The following is the email he received:

It is with immense pleasure I am writing this letter. On behalf of Publishers Clearing House, we are pleased to announce that you are our recent mega prize winner of $1,000,000.00 (One Million Dollars) a year winner in our recent Sweepstakes. We are celebrating 50th anniversary of our founding, Publishers Clearing House was founded in 1953 by Harold and LuEsther Mertz and their daughter, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore. With mailings offering consumers an unprecedented array of discounted magazine subscription offers, the company soon became the largest magazine circulation agency in the industry, earning it a respected leadership position in the direct marketing field.From the start, Publishers Clearing House mailings generated mail response standards which even the most creative and sophisticated tests had a difficult time beating. Meanwhile, the company pioneered in mailing production and operational areas, establishing models for a growing industry. Not surprisingly many direct marketing industry leaders learned their craft within the walls of the company known as PCH. The name “Publishers Clearing House” is almost synonymous with the sweepstakes launched in 1967 to draw attention to the magazine deals in company mailings. Since 1974, consumer response has been bolstered by TV campaigns — now featuring the Prize Patrol, a team of PCH employees that travels to locations near and far surprising prizewinners of thousands and millions of dollars.
The prize patrol surprise are suppose to come to your location with your big check, dozen red roses, a handful of balloons, and a bottle of champagne. I’m sure you have seen us countless times on TV presenting the ceremonial Big Check to lucky Publishers Clearing House winners. But due to some circumstances we were unable to bring your Check to you. The Publishers Clearing House Consumer Affairs Department want you to contact our office with the below information for a Check Insurance before we could deliver your Check. The first advertisement for Check Insurance appeared, according to Old Republic Title. The ad stated that by insuring this insurance will prevent bad titles, liens and other encumbrances,To minimize the risk during payout, To minimize undisclosed heirs and undisclosed liens, also to avoid fraudulent and treat concerning your Check.
The Consumer Affairs Division of Publishers Clearing House would like to warn consumers about an ongoing phone scam from con artists fraudulently and illegally representing that they are calling from or representing Publishers Clearing House. Publishers Clearing House has been receiving reports of calls being made to consumers around the country from individuals claiming to work for a law firm representing Publishers Clearing House. The callers fraudulently represent that the consumer is a winner in the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and request that some form of payment for “taxes,” “custom fees,” “border security” or other bogus reason be made for the prize to be collected. Consumers are often told that the prize is coming from Canada where, they are told, the original prize winner was disqualified. Publishers Clearing House continues to share information on these scams with law enforcement officials in the United States and Canada in the hope that the operators can be identified and stopped. ” Publishers Clearing House is working hard to resolve the issue and shut down the on going malicious program”.
Please kindly contact our Branch Office below for your Check Insurance before our prize patrol could deliver your Check of $1,000,000.00 A certain fee of $1,000.00 Will be required of you for the Check Insurance Certificate. You are to email them your Name, Address and Telephone Number They will give you instruction on how you may go about sending the required fee for your Check Insurance Certificate. Your Check will be delivered to you within 24 hours immediately your payment is received.

Publishers Clearing House
Mailing address: 382 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050
Email: winners2012@fastservice.com
Division of Supervision: Mike Zane
Inform me immediately you send the required fee.
Sincerely,
Danielle Lam
Consumer Affairs Division

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4 Responses to Publishers Clearing House Scam: You Won, Send Us $1,000 For “Insurance”

  1. RON ALLAIN on October 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    RECENTLY RECEIVED EMAIL TELLING ME I HAD WON ONE OF FOUR WINNERS OF $1,000,000.00, REPLIED TO IT WITH MY ADDRESS INFORMATION AND GOT A RESPONSE FROM POSTMASTER GENERAL TELLING ME THIS WAS UNDELIVERABLE SO SEEMS LIKE A SCAM TO ME, PEOPLE BEWARE.

  2. RON ALLAIN on October 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    RECENTLY GOT AN EMAIL FROM P.C.H. TELLING ME I WAS ONE OF FOUR LUCKY WINNERS TO HAVE WON $1,000,000.OO SENT MY REPLY IN WITH MY INFORMATION THEY REQUESTED, SENT IT TO TWO DIFFERENT ADDRESSES ON THE EMAIL AND CAME BACK TO BY POSTMASTER GENERAL SAYING THAT MAIL WAS UNDELIVERABLE, THIS SEEMS LIKE A SCAM TO ME, PEOPLE BEWARE.

  3. D K on February 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I just received this very same email today and figured it was bogus just by the many grammatical errors in it. I’ve been entering these sweepstakes online for the past three months and wondered how they actually contact the winners. I think PCH is a legitimate organization after reading about how they were sued in the past, so their reputation is definitely on the line. I’m more baffled about how the people’s names from the PCH entry forms are being libelized in these “winning” emails. Danielle, Todd, and Dave Sayer are all names written on the entries and all seem to appear in the forthcoming emails. My email is identical to the above except mine has Dave Sayer’s name on it with a different email address. I also knew money from the winner isn’t required for a sweepstakes so I sure wasn’t going to supply them with any information.

  4. Anna Ferguson on March 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I have received a letter saying I have won 250,000 dollars from the Jan 28, 2013 drawing of the USA MEGA PUBLISHING CLEARING HOUSE DRAWS. I was sent a check for $4,194.10 from “my prize” for which the processing fees would be $2995.00. I am to contact JOSEPH MOORE at 1-604-653-6972. So. if I am told to send them the processing fee, the chances are that I am stuck for the 2995 and a worthless check and dashed hopes for a prize. I have never heard of a contest that you needed to send money to win money.

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