Millions of people are now receiving their Publishers Clearing House packages promising the possibility of getting $1,000,000 a year for life.
The odds of getting scammed by crooks using Publishers Clearing House mailings as a bait is much higher than winning any money.
Beverly Wheeler, who lives west of Hartford, Ct., asked me whether anyone actually won and wondered what the “gimmick” was.
“I keep getting these in the mail saying ‘I’m going to win, and I would respond and send my mail back sometimes without buying magazine subscriptions and then I would get more things back from them saying I am very close to winning. Then I would send that back to them and I finally just threw the mail in the garbage because I got tired of them saying I was about to win,” she wrote me.
Well Beverly, some people have won money from Publishers Clearing House, especially after the company was sued by Connecticut and 25 other states 11 years ago, and it had to pay a $34 million settlement and promise to stop lying to the public.
While Publishers Clearing House may only result in harmless fantasies, other unscrupulous people use the mid-January through February period to inundate consumers with similar sounding offers intended to steal money or sensitive information.
Both the Better Business Bureau in several states and Ct Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein are warning consumers not fall for any of these offers that request you buy magazines, merchandise, pay up front fees, or disclose sensitive financial information in return for possible windfalls.
“We encourage consumers who are receiving questionable sweepstakes promotions from Publisher’s Clearing house and similar organizations to forward them, along with a written complaint, to the Department of Consumer Protection,” said the commissioner. “We get a few complaints each year, but in recent months we’ve seen one that appears to be a scam using the Publisher’s Clearinghouse brand as a front for requesting personal financial information from consumers.”
One recently discovered scam involves both the Better Business Bureau and Publishers Clearing House, the BBB says.
Consumers are contacting BBB advising they are receiving calls from people claiming to work for the Better Business Bureau concerning an investigation BBB was doing on the award Publisher’s Clearing House presents to consumers. Consumers are told they have won a prize from the sweepstakes, but tells them they have to pay a fee to receive the money.
“Never pay a fee, no matter how small, for winning a contest, sweepstakes or lottery,” the BBB says.
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